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How to Get the Biggest Recharge Out of Your Lunch Hour





with ght and a eXp paragon of posp Agent and rising star ille, North Charlotte, North Carolina gputation business as a trustworthy, nd passionate real estate vice across or. Partnering with Love Real Estate “My first- lead by te real estate expert and state was larie R. Brooks – Nykole by her alma mater egnized appraiser their “Forty Under KEITHForty BLISS ars,” says uccess in the real estate epreneurship. Leader of




LEONNA WEISS spend consid How did Leonna become a risinga busistar is vaca Currently, NykoleWeiss can boast of having in Raleigh real estate? Leonna started in real sta ness that is based entirely on referrals 18 almost 21 23 myan questions KELLY MARKS estate in 2014 when she was pregnant with her she ex and repeat clients, a staggering accomplishthird child. “I wanted to make a transition out of listing Kelly Marks While may have assumed know about it unless the agreeing toprofe s ment in the real estate industry. there my previous career ofhe’d teaching,” she said. She aexpor never use the real estate put it on MLS and are many reasons for this impressive level worked with a real estate friend during show someone find licenseagent he earned while still at showings until about a we of loyalty – knowledge, dedtheclient summer and realized had honesty, a Hill, passion UNCsheChapel butforthe thouipation and creates does an aucd ication and aAfter stellar workher them he has power and w the business. having babyamong she certain sands ofethic buyers andstarted sellers –training one ofwith theKeller simplest explanations isstartthat Williams. Soon1987 afterare firstincrr helped since grateful he Kelly says his purpose and strategie ing as an agent,like she her. began making of with b people simply “I’ve beenvideos made the effort. “Itold was that working at equity. “I’m very sensitiv which shethat on social one media. reache aposted paving company summer and them the truth, if the Ilistings, have a presence draws people to me,” ning ateven that f

Almost immediately,needed her sphere of influence ha something intellectually transaction with a she minds says Nykole. KELLY MARKS RICHARD TOMASINI LEONNA WEISS

began calling her andstimulating making referrals. info at night,”Once he said. “My While on occasiontothat Facebook Liveher started, using hosts mother already had license,she mybegan brother had that his, and my box, usually it means “gew Passionate about education, Nykole hosts as well. After meeting someone at anbut open she’d fol-people’s needs. dad, who’s a doctor, didn’t have his license hadhouse, done quite monthly first-time home buyer low up with so them by sending a just video Her text savvy Her clients rave that a bit free of real estate, I figured I would do text. it.”workshops. “I’m tospades—Leonna partner them with having approach paidable off in sold credit 19 homes her firstHe gives them back, through the p who work with such them on budgetSinceexperts then,43 Kelly has amassed deep understanding real year!organizations sucha includ year, homes her second year, andtheir 44 homes herofthird them create detail estateing, thattheir clients seek outand his just knowledge. independent Re/ a nonprofit that helps witi cient manner, even savings, the coreAnprincipals Maxthey agentneed Greensboro, Highpoint and surrounding time home buyers. Humil Now inserving hertofourth year of serving Raleigh and the surrounding part of the job? “I lo be able to be a good home buyer, North Carolina communities, Kelly believes knowledge is Kelly’s real estate success area, already a staggering 90% of her business comes from their roots and look so that once they’re in their new house they power. “My wife mighther callclients me nosy, I think I’m inquisover the years, bothup locally referrals. Why referbut their friends said. “I grew in a don’t have to do deal with being what we calland family to itive!”Leonna That’s at because best way“Itoamcater his clients is Leonna to meaningful him asable the t such athe high rate? not to transactional,” lot so Itowasn’t house broke,” she says. Nykole continues adds each “I feel learn as much as possible themand and about or through says. “For me, the about relationship doesn’t end property.. at the closingof a client ing families to adoleat when you know better you do better.” Homeownership is like table. I let them know I’m a resource for anything they might situations such as d any other thing you want life…A term sacrifice for Kelly’s every is driven bya the life principles embraces. hisofgoal need, beaction it in a referral forshort new water heater,heor an issue withGoingtheforward, other side a st have a personal vision; I believe in making a difference expanding slowly by add a long term “I gain.” an HOA.” Leonna develops a strong bond with her clients. every“They day, nosend matter small.” He alsothey believes I’d love mehow referrals because knowinI laughter advocate forhis license In her and cherished fret – making other people laugh and having the ability to laugh. business one day,” he say them as it was myfor owngranted experience. tell them: Your children and suppo Nykole doesn’t take herif success for Iaalways moment Equally important is taking care of As the abody, by doing thingsatten-of theenjoys day, it’s all beingwit ca wants, you needs—My goal.” result of her careful traveling and even this far into her successful real estate career she still like drinking enough to feels stay hydrated fresh. “And I in, leaving thingsshe a micro tion, each of herwater clients that they and are her only client. the future, wan stops to takefocus stock marvel hercharitable fortune. as “I’m grateonand being as kindatand I cansobe.” Positivity, startedand by her nice,business, positive pa ful that I’veKelly found my element, and that I really and trulystorms; adds, means theconsultation calm in other Leonna does a being staging withpeople’s each of her sellers to and increasing her p love what I do,” says Nykole. true passion for helping with real that “My means keeping clients fully informed buthouse helpestate, them prepare the property to is look its best. “If the those are worthy go removed from drama. people. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to

When mark instance, he y dedicated in real estate began in grew jaded working in communihonest cons ustry. “I retired from that n. Backed accurate rec ys, “and was living off of CONTENTS ed out to a friend, ng with a lookare based on work, maybe as an office ng Detailed adv erredbuyers’ me to Valarie BrooksTO Real GET Estate THE BIGGEST 4) R.HOW 19) 6 THINGS ALL ed working as her office admin. Fast forearned his one of the top producers OUT OF YOUR SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATORShome DO is follo s, and I’m now RECHARGE ater, to North Carolina in 2005. photography, including aerial photograph t’s like relocating a fairy tale.” Nykole points to the LUNCH HOUR ss environment that Valarie R. Brooks has irtual organization is a thriving local team “We syndicate to theBUSINESS major real estate w 22)then ARE YOU DOING Charlotte Homes as one of many reasons “It’s definitely a13) team mprising 300 agents and 6 she states within And Lake Crew has a lot of F Aenvironment,” STEP-BY-STEP GUIDEthe TO websites. AS YOU ONThe FACEBOOK? ot every man or woman for themselves. INTERNET LEADS Instagram followers, so our social media pre work makes the CONVERTING dream work. Plus, Valarie es her agents which add to SALES our front of the right people.” TO definitely REAL LIFE of new business from return clients and assist someone with purchasing their Kelly investshome, himself acquiring in client interactions. a his new property for With eed advertise his business. Service speaks Richhepersonally and his team buyers, for instance, provides a guarantee. If members in the first year also won’t hesit their portfolio, or to sell a property homeownership, his buyer realizes that they made the wrong wever, invest in building and training ofpurchase the of isthe night,them. ifbutneeded for a client. “I like th that distressing I’m armed – whether they love the house hate the neighbor’s with proven leadership, world the house market issays turning out to be “That’s too much work professionals possible. “Clients comedogs, toor whether estate,” Rich. where I get a lot of class connections and a winning teamone can – Kelly will list their house for them for free. “No Phone 888-461-3930 | Fax 310-751-7068 onesty and knowledge,” says Rich. control “In what’sready with problems goingtoonthem, at work orsolving in someone else’s help anyone with their reallife, but and consulting | when people estate come home at the end of the day, they should be goals.” n an appraiser, I have flipped houses and estate, whether that b able to exhaleconstant and have peacechange and solace,of and real not wonder, ‘ No portion of this issue may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without priorTo consent of the publisher. Top Agent find out more about Leonn What was I thinking?’” To learn more e experience; done hundreds and new inventory or in training Magazinewe’ve is published by Feature Publications GA, Inc. Although precautions taken to ensure the accuracy of published Nykole isand alsoare a different dedicated philanthroyou can contact her via email at leo materials, Top Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for pist, opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. and she is active with numerous visit Ke His guarantee speaks to his integrity. With listings, Kelly spares ns; we’re Towell past theaddress, point making team members. or by phone at 919454 4932 subscribe or change sendof inquiry to organizations. She is currently workno expense in marketing, but he also goes against some trends or go to his Published in the U.S. flawless service with the American withisexcellenting success. “Many agents Cancer are doingSociety, ‘coming soon’ ways Rich delivers email Kelly marketing, but I don’t,” he says. With patients coming-soon listings, he volunteering to drive to doct, candid approach to every relationship. To stayonlyfresh and says, a housetor is appointments. marketed toShe other agent; call also sits arecharge onbuyer the might regularly,orRich Company Listing board the local chapteras of the Northas Top est all 2the time; we keep people informed withof his family well giving back to com Agent Magazine ive.” in need. In particular, he personally supports www.

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How to Get the Biggest Recharge

Out of Your Lunch Hour When things get busy, it’s typical to find a grab-and-go lunch and keep plugging away on the tasks at hand. While some days demand this kind of hustle, your lunch hour can be a valuable window in which to recharge and set the tone for the latter half of your day. In fact, taking a mindful break at midday can create 4

mental space for extended productivity and provide the morale boost necessary to take on a new task for the afternoon. But how do you maximize that hourlong reprieve amidst a busy schedule? Here are a few ideas for inspiration, no matter what your tastes or preferred habits may be.

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Taking a mindful break at midday can create mental space for extended productivity and provide the morale boost necessary to take on a new task for the afternoon.

GET MOVING Just ten minutes of light exercise can get your blood pumping and your energy renewed. Step outside and take a brisk walk around the block, or walk to your favorite sandwich shop instead of hopping in your car. Find ways to incorporate light exercise into your lunch hour routine and you’ll not only enjoy a chance to stretch your legs and get your eyes off of screens, but you’ll also reap the health and mood benefits of endorphins. Even extended stretching or mild calisthenics can provide rejuvenating relief in short order. Top Agent Magazine

PLAY CATCH UP Sometimes catching up with an old friend or family member can brighten your day and give you a morale-boosting outlet beyond the office. During your next lunch hour, why not combine a jaunt around the block with a call to catch up with your sibling or college buddy? Shifting your focus from work and centering instead on a comforting interpersonal relationship can really boost your mood and reinforce your personal values.

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SOAK UP THE SUN If you’re tempted to eat your lunch at your desk while staring into the same computer screen that you’ve been working on for hours—think again. Sure, a busy schedule sometimes means making that sacrifice, but when your schedule and weather permits, try to take your lunch outside and disconnect from your office setting. Soak up the sun, feel the breeze, and lift your gaze to the horizon instead of toward your phone or computer screen. The mood-boosting benefits of time spent recharging outside are well-documented, and a change of scenery can give you the boost you need to power through your afternoon to-do list. 6

Use your lunch hour to treat your senses. As you eat or get active, try queuing up your favorite music or the latest episode of your favorite podcast. If you focus on the same tasks and stimuli for too long, your brain will fatigue and your focus will erode steadily over time. Shift gears and treat your mind to some music or stimulation outside of your daily tasks. You’ll help yourself relax, recharge, and create a natural transition point for your ensuing afternoon workflow. Your lunch hour isn’t just about being purely functional. If you want to maintain a steady rate of productivity and leave the office satisfied by the progress of your day—use your lunch hour wisely. As important as it is to nourish your body, also consider nourishing your mind. No matter what your chosen outlet may be, don’t overlook the power of a well-spent lunch hour and the positive benefits that are sure to follow.

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KEITH BLISS Back in 2001, Keith Bliss left the corporate world and all of its trappings for a career in real estate. While pursuing his passion over the next seventeen years, Keith has built a business and reputation defined by an authentic, service-oriented attitude and a track record of success. Today, Keith heads a tightknit team that includes a Buyer Specialist and two key licensed broker-administrative support staff. Powered by EXP Realty, the Agent-Owned Cloud Brokerage, Keith and the team at Bliss Real Estate cater to 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

the counties of Wake, Durham, Johnston, Franklin, and the eastern parts of Chatham. Based in Cary Downtown, Keith and his team work from a restored and converted 1923 bungalow—a nod to Keith’s appreciation for and experience with Historic District properties throughout the greater Raleigh region. “We’re historic property owners, and we understand and specialize in the downtown lifestyles of Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, and Durham, and even more long-term history in many particular areas with deep historical roots in Raleigh, such as Top Agent Magazine

Mordecai, Boylan Heights, Five Points, and Hayes Barton,” Keith explains. “We’re seeing a lot of interest and activity with the emerging areas of South Park and the overall eastern Raleigh Downtown. To set ourselves apart, we study trends and developments before they’re even in place. We’re students of the market, and we pass along that value to our clients.” What’s more, roughly half of Keith’s business is driven by repeat and referral clientele—an unassailable testament to his staying power as Top Agent Magazine

an agent. “What it comes down to is providing clients with a positive experience,” Keith says. “We keep them informed of what’s happening in the market, but never overload them with too much information by ‘selling them.’ Without the team, however, this would not be possible. Our Listing Coordinator and Closing Coordinator, along with our cloud-based Broker Communication System, allows me and my business partner, Matt Kerekes, to spend our time serving our clients at the highest level in our sales roles.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine9

When it comes to listing properties, Keith and his team apply overarching strategy to net ideal results in short order. Beginning with preparation prior to market, Keith promotes upcoming listings with a Coming Soon system to create a local buzz. From there, Keith takes a tech-forward approach that includes Matterport 3D tour Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

technology that allows clients to fully envision a space through virtual reality. All listings are outfitted with signage, complete with a 24-hour information line that epitomizes Keith’s trademark attentiveness and accessibility. From there, Keith describes his process as, “good, old-fashioned elbow grease,� which includes Top Agent Magazine

local prospecting to raise regional awareness and open houses that draw prospective buyers to the listed space. To give back to his professional community, Keith is active in a variety of civic and professional organizations, including the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors and the Heart of Cary Association. In his remaining free hours, Keith most enjoys time spent with his wife and three children, where a life-balance rule is in place for everyone on the team. He also supTop Agent Magazine

ports his local church as part of the Building and Land Use Committee for the future home of the Mother Theresa Catholic Mission. Likewise, he runs his own coaching business, and relishes the opportunity to pass along his knowledge and balanced insight to those building their own businesses. Considering the future of his enterprise, Keith has plans to continue growing his imprint steadily and mindfully, with a goal of further incorporating industry-changing technology. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11

He also hopes to spread the word about the EXP Realty cloud-based model, expanding Bliss Real Estate’s platform throughout the regional market. Finally, with nearly two decades of experience behind him, Keith Bliss reflects upon his career to date and the aspects of his work he enjoys most, including coaching agents and real estate development. “What I like most is that we make

an impact by creating a great experience for clients, while also educating ourselves and staying informed about everything that’s happening in the market,” Keith says. “We’re there for our clients and provide all the information necessary for them to make a great real estate decision for themselves. I love the chance to help create or influence what’s happening next in the lives of my clients. I’ve got a servant’s heart.”

To learn more about Keith Bliss email, call (919) 467 – 0707,

visit, or visit his Facebook page here. www.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to

Converting Internet Leads to Real Life Sales In the era of apps, instantaneous social platforms, and text messaging, it’s little surprise that the modern homebuyer begins his or her search for real estate representation online. Even if you’ve got a top-notch website or an influential social media presence, how do you connect with web surfers who have yet to commit to the services you offer? Take a look below to learn a few key techniques to bridge the gap between digital interest and real-world sales. Top Agent Magazine

RESPONSIVENESS IS KEY Like it or not, our digital culture relishes immediacy and instant gratification. With that in mind, be sure to stay on top of online interest forms, e-mails, or newsletter signups. Don’t let an online lead go to waste by taking too long to engage and follow-up. Things move fast, and it’s easy for potential clientele to forget which websites they’ve visited. Even if your lead isn’t ready to commit then and there, you demonstrate your

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Mastering the fundamentals of digital communication is the first step to converting digital interest into concrete business. accessibility and attentiveness by following up swiftly—a characteristic anyone would seek in an agent or lender.

ENGAGE WITH OPEN-ENDED CONVERSATION When online back-and-forth goes stale, communication drops off quickly. If you’re following up via e-mail, social media, or text, be sure to keep topics focused squarely on the potential client. Ask open-ended questions to give your lead the opportunity to loosen up and engage on a personal level. There’s no better way to cement a digital lead than to take a pointed interest in the specifics of their situation. Doing so transforms the impersonal invisibility of the internet into a true connection.

GIVE ADDED VALUE Plenty of businesses send impersonal, automated messages in response to an online inquiry, but establishing a true connection may mean providing your lead with something of value. Perhaps you’re forwarding a property for sale that fits the interests of your lead, or a relevant article, or maybe you take the time to send a personal message—demonstrable value and a personal touch separate your follow-up response from spam. Other ideas to consider when 14

adding value to your follow-up technique: incorporate area promotions and access to local events, make a date for coffee, or offer a brief consultation free of charge to make the first move.

DON’T STOP MAKING CONTACT If you don’t connect with your internet lead right off the bat—don’t be discouraged. It often takes multiple tries before a follow-up interaction sticks. Folks are busy and frequently flooded with e-mail blasts and junk mail. A lead may not engage without a little prodding that shows you’re committed to their business. Remember: it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Digital leads don’t have to be difficult to capture. The internet plays a powerful role in funneling modern clientele your way, but in order to take full advantage of the web’s reach, you’ll need to tailor your follow-up technique. Mastering the fundamentals of digital communication is the first step to converting digital interest into concrete business. Keep these tips top-of-mind as you build your online presence and mine the vast world wide web for an endless wealth of clientele. Earning a command of digital lead conversion is the surest way to bolster your business in the ever-evolving digital era.

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NYKOLE WYATT — RISING STAR Ebullient, forthright and a paragon of positive energy, Top Agent and rising star Nykole Wyatt of Charlotte, North Carolina has earned her reputation as a trustworthy, knowledgeable and passionate real estate broker and advisor. Partnering with Love Charlotte Homes Real Estate - lead by HGTV’s Charlotte real estate expert and proven leader Valarie R. Brooks – Nykole was recently recognized by her alma mater as being among their “Forty Under Forty Honorees” for success in the real estate industry and entrepreneurship. Nykole’s journey in real estate began in 2011, when she grew jaded working in the insurance industry. “I retired from that business,” she says, “and was living off of my 401k. I reached out to a friend, looking for part-time work, maybe as an office assistant. She referred me to Valarie R. Brooks Real Estate Firm, and I started working as her office admin. Fast forward seven years, and I’m now one of the top producers in the company. It’s like a fairy tale.” Nykole points to the supportive business environment that Valarie R. Brooks has created at Love Charlotte Homes as one of many reasons for her success. “It’s definitely a team environment,” she explains. “It is not every man or woman for themselves. We believe teamwork makes the dream work. Plus, Valarie personally coaches her agents which definitely add to our success.”

Currently, Nykole can boast of having a business that is based almost entirely on referrals and repeat clients, a staggering accomplishment in the real estate industry. While there are many reasons for this impressive level of client loyalty – knowledge, honesty, dedication and a stellar work ethic among them – one of the simplest explanations is that people simply like her. “I’ve been told that I have a presence that draws people to me,” says Nykole. Passionate about education, Nykole hosts free monthly first-time home buyer workshops. “I’m able to partner them with credit experts who work with them on their budgeting, their savings, and just the core principals they need to be able to be a good home buyer, so that once they’re in their new house they don’t have to deal with being what we call house broke,” she says. Nykole continues and adds “I feel when you know better you do better.” Homeownership is like any other thing you want in life…A short term sacrifice for a long term gain.” Nykole doesn’t take her success for granted for a moment and even this far into her successful real estate career she still stops to take stock and marvel at her fortune. “I’m so grateful that I’ve found my element, and that I really and truly love what I do,” says Nykole. “My true passion is for helping people. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to assist someone with purchasing their home, acquiring a new property for their portfolio, or to sell a property that is distressing them. I’m armed with proven market leadership, world class connections and a winning team ready to help anyone with their real estate goals.”

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Nykole is also a dedicated philanthropist, and she is active with numerous organizations. She is currently working with the American Cancer Society, volunteering to drive patients to doctor appointments. She also sits on the board of the local chapter of the North Copyright Top Agent Magazine

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Carolina Central University Alumni Association as their Correspondence Secretary. “I just spearheaded a drive to collect water for the NCCU band. They travel a lot and need water, so we just gave them over a thousand bottles of water.” She also volunteers with The Prodigal Son at a local elementary school, helping students with homework, and assists at a local soup kitchen, among other charitable activities. A published author, Nykole is currently working on her second book. The first, This is the Day that the Lord Has Made: A Daily Devotional, was published in 2014, and is available for order on Her new project is titled Success Leaves Clues: Stories Tips and Trades Learned on the Road to Success. “This book will focus on the different things one has to do in order to be successful. Like being consistent, persistent, and remaining humble,” explains Nykole. The future looks bright for Nykole, who has dubbed herself The Real Estate Queen. “I’m a humble, approachable person,” she says. “I’m a firm believer of pushing my clients to their biggest potential and allowing them to become the hero of their own life story. I will help anyone who has the desire and the will to move forward. It’s no problem if you’re looking to buy, sell, or even rent. I’m here to help. Definitely connect with me.”

For more information about Nykole Wyatt, call 704- 258- 7046 or email You can follow Nykole on all social media platforms @KolesKeys Top Agent Magazine

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KELLY MARKS Kelly Marks may have assumed he’d never use the real estate license he earned while still at UNC Chapel Hill, but the thousands of buyers and sellers he has helped since 1987 are grateful he made the effort. “I was working at a paving company one summer and needed something intellectually stimulating at night,” he said. “My mother already had her license, my brother had his, and my dad, who’s a doctor, didn’t have his license but had done quite a bit of real estate, so I figured I would just do it.” Since then, Kelly has amassed such deep understanding of real estate that clients seek out his knowledge. An independent Re/ Max agent serving Greensboro, Highpoint and surrounding North Carolina communities, Kelly believes knowledge is power. “My wife might call me nosy, but I think I’m inquisitive!” That’s because the best way to cater to his clients is to learn as much as possible about them and about each property.. Kelly’s every action is driven by the life principles he embraces. “I have a personal vision; I believe in making a difference every day, no matter how small.” He also believes in laughter – making other people laugh and having the ability to laugh. Equally important is taking care of the body, by doing things like drinking enough water to stay hydrated and fresh. “And I focus on being as kind and charitable as I can be.” Positivity, Kelly adds, means being the calm in other people’s storms; with real estate, that means keeping clients fully informed but removed from drama. Kelly invests himself personally in his client interactions. With buyers, for instance, he provides a guarantee. If in the first year of homeownership, his buyer realizes that they made the wrong purchase – whether they love the house but hate the neighbor’s dogs, or whether the house is turning out to be too much work – Kelly will list their house for them for free. “No one can control what’s going on at work or in someone else’s life, but when people come home at the end of the day, they should be able to exhale and have peace and solace, and not wonder, ‘ What was I thinking?’” His guarantee speaks to his integrity. With listings, Kelly spares no expense in marketing, but he also goes against some trends with excellent success. “Many agents are doing ‘coming soon’ marketing, but I don’t,” he says. With coming-soon listings, he says, a house is marketed only to other agent; a buyer might 18

know about it unless they drive past it. “I do the opposite. I put it on MLS and export it to everyone, but we don’t allow showings until about a week later.” This approach builds anticipation and creates an auction-like atmosphere. Kelly says his purpose in real estate is to help his clients acquire equity. “I’m very sensitive to their needs, but I’ll always tell them the truth, even if they won’t like it!” He approaches each transaction with a mindset specific to that unique situation. While on occasion that might involve thinking outside the box, usually it means “getting creative inside the box” to meet people’s needs. He gives back, having held leadership roles in charitable organizations such including Easter Seals, local schools and a nonprofit that helps with down payment assistance for firsttime home buyers. Humility and graciousness are hallmarks of Kelly’s real estate success. While he has won numerous awards over the years, both locally and nationally, those aren’t nearly as meaningful to him as the times he makes a difference in the life of a client or through a leadership role with a charitable cause. Going forward, his goal is to carefully extend his legacy, expanding slowly by adding more agents. “My son is getting his license and I’d love to grow and have him take over the business one day,” he says. But first things first. “At the end of the day, it’s all being caretakers of whatever we’re involved in, leaving things a microscopic bit better off than before we started by nice, positive and fair.”

To learn more about Kelly Marks, visit or go to his Facebook page, email or call 336.346.1253. www.

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6 Things All Successful Negotiators Do If you think about it, you’ve been negotiating your whole life. As a kid you negotiated constantly with your family, your teachers, and your classmates. If you’re a parent, you’re negotiating probably more than you ever have in your life. But it’s one thing to negotiate staying up late on a school night, people oftentimes have trouble translating those real world negotiation skills into the business world. But the truth is there are a lot similarities. Expert negotiators all have skills and techniques they bring to the table. It’s quite possible you also have them, and don’t even realize Top Agent Magazine

it. Here’s a look at some traits that are common among expert negotiators.

1. They keep emotion out of the process It’s very easy to feel frustrated, angry and defensive during a negotiation process. But when emotions run high, it’s often difficult to respond with logic and reason. This can be especially difficult if the person you’re negotiating with tries to escalate the situation. As the saying goes, keep calm and carry on. You

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have an end goal in mind, and getting heated won’t help you meet it. If things don’t go your way, remember it’s not personal. Best to leave the table with no hard feelings. Hopefully even though you may not have gotten what you’ve wanted this time around, you’ve established a foundation for success at your next try.

2. They’re reasonable If you don’t ask for what you want you’ll never get it, but at the same time, you need to be reasonable about what you’re asking for. Yes, ask for a little more than you want, so you have some wiggle room to compromise. But if you ask for too much too soon, you might shut down the person you’re negotiating with from the start, or even worse offend them. No one wants to feel like they’re being taken advantage of. Ask for what you deserve and you’ll never go wrong. At the very least you might start the conversation on how that might be possible down the line, if it isn’t just yet.

3. They’re well-prepared Part of being reasonable is being well-prepared. One of the biggest mistakes novice negotiators make is showing up over-confident and under prepared. Have the research and facts to back up what you’re asking for. Show your negotiation partner evidence of why what you’re asking for is not only fair, but necessary. Facts are hard to shoot down. This will also give you the confidence to really push for what you want. It’s not just something you think, it’s something that’s undeniable true. If you go in unprepared you’re more likely to flounder, which will damage your credibility going into future negotiations. 20

4. They always strive for a win/win solution for everyone Yes, negotiations are about getting what you want, but as the old saying goes, you get more flies with honey than vinegar. Your negotiation partner might also have reasonable requests that you need to consider. Ultimately, successful negotiations are about compromise on both sides, and ending up with an outcome that benefits everyone.

5. They’re creative Problems and conflict are a natural part of any negotiation. One surefire way to impress, is to head off any impending roadblocks, by coming up with creative solutions. It’s easy to point out problems and be negative. Truly expert negotiators think outside the box, and dazzle with innovative concepts and ideas that leave everyone excited about the process.

6. They’re good listeners Listening in order to really understand where your negotiation partner is coming from is important for two reasons: you not only want to make them feel heard, but knowing what they want is invaluable information you can use to get what you want. At the start, you’re gathering information by asking questions and really hearing what they say, which includes picking up on body language and nonverbal cues as well. This is part of being well-prepared, using every possible thing you can to have an advantage. Being in control of the situation, and then leading everyone to a successful conclusion all around is what great negotiation is all about.

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RICHARD TOMASINI The Lake Crew, a team with eXp Realty out of Moorseville, North Carolina, is a growing business built on improving service across the real estate industry. “My first involvement in real estate was working as a real estate appraiser for more than six years,” says Rich Tomasini, Team Leader of the Lake Crew, which is dedicated to the Charlotte and communities near Lake Norman. Backed by that experience along with a devotion to understanding buyers’ and sellers’ needs, Rich earned his sales license two years later, relocating to North Carolina in 2005. Now, Rich Tomasini’s virtual organization is a thriving local team within a larger team comprising 300 agents and 6 states within the eXp network. Drawing nearly 100% of new business from return clients and referrals, Rich doesn’t need advertise his business. Service speaks for itself. He does, however, invest in building and training the best real estate sales professionals possible. “Clients come to us for our hybrid of honesty and knowledge,” says Rich. “In addition to having been an appraiser, I have flipped houses and our team has incredible experience; we’ve done hundreds and hundreds of transactions; we’re well past the point of making mistakes!” One of the ways Rich delivers flawless service is by offering an up-front, candid approach to every relationship. “We’re completely honest all the time; we keep people informed and we’re very responsive.” Practically real-time responsiveness is an expectation across industries these days, but in an industry that involves so much client emotion and what is often the largest purchase or sale of a lifetime, immediate availability is a must. “Our clients get a real person every time who is armed to win transactions. A combination like that may sound simple, but it is in rare supply these days.” Rich and his team members are consultants long before they are sales agents. With every person who approaches them, they

spend considerable time asking questions and consulting before agreeing to selling a home or help someone find one. “Knowledge is power and we provide guidance and strategies to succeed beginning at that first meeting.” When marketing listings, for instance, he begins with direct, honest consultations including accurate recommendations that are based on real and current data. Detailed advice on preparing the home is followed by professional photography, including aerial photography where allowable. “We then syndicate to the major real estate websites and 54 other websites. And The Lake Crew has a lot of Facebook friends and Instagram followers, so our social media presence gets listings in front of the right people.” Rich and his team members also won’t hesitate to work all hours of the night, if needed for a client. “I like the people part of real estate,” says Rich. “That’s where I get a lot of my charge, working with them, solving problems and consulting.” He also enjoys the constant change of real estate, whether that be in the continuously new and different inventory or in training and developing new team members. To stay fresh and recharge regularly, Rich enjoys quality time with his family as well as giving back to community and to people in need. In particular, he personally supports an elementary school in Uganda, raising funds to keep the school clean and the children fed healthy lunches daily. “eXp is also very involved and recently finished building a house for Habitat for Humanity,” he explains. All of this personal and professional exposure allows Rich to give his clients the type of individualized attention they deserve. “We are trained in personality types; we’re trained in evaluation; we’re trained in marketing both digitally and through interactions with people. We’re highly responsible, plugged-in and full-time agents.” Simply put, he adds, “We work to win.”

To learn more about Rich Tomasini, visit or go to his Facebook page, www.

email or call 704.307.9793

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Are You Doing Business As YOU On Facebook? Are you ‘Doing Business As YOU’ on your personal Facebook page? In other words, are you posting your business content from your personal page? Yesterday a REALTOR® asked us, “Why should I bother with a company Facebook page? Can’t I just post everything from my profile page?” The answer lies in what we call division of content. As you may be aware, social media began as just that… social. It was never truly intended for business use. Over time, as businesses began to see the potential in reaching the masses in a new way, they began to intrude on this communication. Today, it is widely accepted that business will be conducted on all social platforms, but the manner in which we do so (and in which we are received) is still a touchy subject at times. We believe it’s important to be transparent on social media. Draw the line between communicating as the Person and the Professional. Not only does this help you keep your content separate and appropriate, it also gives the control to your network of family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and customers. They get to decide whether to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your company page. They get to decide whether they want to see your business related posts. User control is the #1 reason you need a business page if you’re conducting business on Facebook. Wouldn’t you rather have a willing and engaged audience over a forced, potentially reluctant one? We have personally eliminated many of the ‘DBA’ offenders from our news feeds and you have likely done the same.

As in all controversial social media topics, there is some gray area. And that gray area is often subjective, so consider this post food for thought and decide for yourself. We try our best to keep professional content on our business pages, with a couple of exceptions: 1. Philanthropic Promotion: We’re in favor of posting anything that will help an organization in need on both your personal and business pages. Nonprofits often have little to no marketing budget and rely on all of us to promote their good works, so we believe that’s a good line to cross (as long as it’s about the organization, and not you). 2. Recognition Tagging: Facebook does not allow you to tag an individual on your business page. Yes, there are some tricky work-arounds, but they are inconsistent at best. So when it’s truly important for us to recognize and tag an individual, especially someone who has done something nice for us (inviting us as guests on their radio show or podcast, for instance), we will generally post that on the business page first, then share it from our personal pages, along with a comment recognizing and tagging the individual(s) or business who helped us. Either way (personal or business), remember to be true to the social aspect. Our participation on social media should be about giving, helping, recognizing and connecting…especially when it comes to your business.

Tonya Eberhart is the Branding Agent to Business Stars and founder of BrandFace®, LLC. Michael Carr is America’s Top Selling Real Estate Auctioneer & BrandFace® partner. Together, they focus on personal branding and marketing designed to help real estate professionals become the face of their business & a star in their market. BrandFace® for Real Estate Professionals is a book, professional speaking series and an exclusive workshop for agents, and is currently active in 18 U.S. states, Canada and New Zealand. For more information, visit 22

Top Agent Magazine

Top Agent Magazine

LEONNA WEISS How did Leonna Weiss become a rising star in Raleigh real estate? Leonna started in real estate in 2014 when she was pregnant with her third child. “I wanted to make a transition out of my previous career of teaching,” she said. She worked with a real estate agent friend during the summer and realized she had a passion for the business. After having her baby she started training with Keller Williams. Soon after starting as an agent, she began making videos of listings, which she posted on social media. Almost immediately, her sphere of influence began calling her and making referrals. Once Facebook Live started, she began using that as well. After meeting someone at an open house, she’d follow up with them by sending a video text. Her text savvy approach paid off in spades—Leonna sold 19 homes her first year, 43 homes her second year, and 44 homes her third year! Now in her fourth year of serving Raleigh and the surrounding area, already a staggering 90% of her business comes from referrals. Why do her clients refer their friends and family to Leonna at such a high rate? “I am not transactional,” Leonna says. “For me, the relationship doesn’t end at the closing table. I let them know I’m a resource for anything they might need, be it a referral for a new water heater, or an issue with an HOA.” Leonna develops a strong bond with her clients. “They send me referrals because they know I advocate for them as if it was my own experience. I always tell them: Your wants, you needs—My goal.” As a result of her careful attention, each of her clients feels that they are her only client. Leonna does a staging consultation with each of her sellers to help them prepare the property to look its best. “If the house

is vacant, they get what I call a soft stage where my stager will go in and dress up certain areas,” she explains. A licensed appraiser measures the listing and creates a floor plan. Leonna also hires a professional photographer to take photos that show off the property’s best features. She also does drone photography and videography for certain properties. To market a listing, Leonna first creates a pre-listing buzz on social media with both potential buyers and agents. She also reaches out to all her contacts to let them know she has a listing coming soon. She door knocks to inform neighbors the house is for sale, and hosts well-attended open houses Her clients rave that she uses her teaching background to walk them through the process step-by-step. Sellers say she helps them create a detailed plan for buying and selling in an efficient manner, even in a tight market. What’s Leonna’s favorite part of the job? “I love being around people who are planting their roots and looking to make a change in their lives,” she said. “I grew up in a military family where we moved around a lot so I wasn’t able to plant roots. I feel passionate about helping families to do that for themselves.” In more challenging situations such as divorce, Leonna likes to help people get to the other side of a stressful change and find relief. In her cherished free time, Leonna spends time with her four children and supports their activities in the community. She enjoys traveling with her family a couple of times a year. For the future, she wants to continue growing her referral base and her business, providing top-notch service to her clients, and increasing her presence throughout her community. Now those are worthy goals and ones her clients will appreciate!

To find out more about Leonna Weiss, you can contact her via email at or by phone at 919 - 454 - 4932 Top Agent Magazine

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