August 23

Karen Harms, Top Producing Real Estate Agent


Karen is a full-time REALTOR, who knows the current market conditions, trends, neighborhoods, and is knowledgeable in all aspects of the real estate industry. Karen takes pride in understanding each individual person's needs and concerns. For Karen, this is not just a job, but a rewarding career of gaining clients and friends for a lifetime!

With over 13 years in Business Leadership, Karen is enthusiastic about her devotion to the importance of a person’s largest purchase of their life, she makes each client feel as though they are her only client.

Podcast Highlights:

  • The formula for success - Success = Drive + Passion
  • To succeed in real estate you must master Cold Marketing
  • Always add value this is how you build a great business

Contact Karen:

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello, everyone, this is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster, get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:33
Today, I'm joined by a dear friend, Karen Harms. She's been a realtor for three years and want to talk about that journey of coming in from you know, zero, and making a significant impact. Karen, welcome to the show.

Karen Harms 0:46
Thank you. Happy to be here.

Umar Hameed 0:47
Karen, tell us a little bit about your history. What did you do before you became a realtor? And why on earth did you do the transition?

Karen Harms 0:55
Sure. So prior to being realtor in my previous life, as I like to say, I was a recruiter, I grew my career in the HR realm. So I went from, you know, basic entry level recruiting in the financial industry, to high tech industry, to HR manager to HR director, managing union employees, managing non union employees, technology, all realms have different personalities.

Umar Hameed 1:19
And so you have a sales component to what you did,

Karen Harms 1:21
correct? Yes. Because you had to overall tell these individuals, why going with your company

Unknown Speaker 1:27
is better than better

Karen Harms 1:28
than elsewhere, whether it was paid benefits, or just the technology and growth in the company in general.

Umar Hameed 1:34
Nice, huh? So what caused you to do the transition from that to this?

Karen Harms 1:38
Sure. So like everybody else in this world these days, in the work world, I had been laid off probably about two, two times, two, three times in my HR career, you know, nobody's safe. I started to determine, where's my passion? Is my passion in managing operations in the aerospace industry, which I did previously? Is it in HR? Is it in recruiting? Where is it? And I started to determine that my passion was in any of that wasn't in my 15 years of previous career, life, and expertise. And, you know, working my way up from, like I said, that base level to an executive position, I just didn't have the drive to be there. And I felt that I was just doing the drive or doing the do, yes, just to me the passion without the passion just to get the paycheck, right, which was going right out the door anyway, with kids and family. So I really evaluated when I was laid off the last time, I sat back and evaluated what I wanted to do. In doing that, I started my own consulting career doing organizational development, at which time I had a hiccup with a business partner. We had a major falling out disagreement, and I realized, you know what, this is just not for me, I need to get away from organizational development away from HR away from the corporate side of those things, right, and find something that I really like to do. In that same time I was in the process of selling my house, I came to the conclusion that well, if this realtor can do it,

Unknown Speaker 3:10
yet, not better,

Karen Harms 3:11
not answering my phone calls, not following up with things not giving me specific dates on items, and just was an awful experience, then why can't I do it better? So I went in, sat down and got my license and said, Well, what else do I have to do? Other than,

Umar Hameed 3:29
that's brilliant. So it was like the frustration of the experience. Right? It

Karen Harms 3:32
was the frustration of experience that literally pushed me over the edge.

Umar Hameed 3:35
You know, what's amazing is next level. Have you ever heard the story of Lamborghini? I did not. So Lamborghini was attracted company, lots of cash. And so of course, you buy sports cars, and so the owner of Lamborghini got a couple of Ferrari's and the clutches kept on burning out. So he went to Enzo Ferrari and said, Look, you know, your clutches need work. And he says, Hey, tractor, boy, you stick with a tractor, let real men drive cars. So he got so pissed off. He said, Okay, I'm going to design a car that's going to kill your company, which it didn't. But Lamborghini sports cars came out of that customer experience that frustration interesting. So anyway, so you started in this path in real estate. So the first year out? How many transactions did you do?

Karen Harms 4:16
About 20? You know, 24.

Umar Hameed 4:19
And what's the what's the norm for agents coming in? Typically,

Karen Harms 4:23
about I believe it's seven to 10.

Umar Hameed 4:25
Seven to 10. more closer to seven.

Karen Harms 4:27
It's closer to seven. And that's typically if you have it's all based on your sphere of influence, yes, on who you have, and when you're coming in, and their transition periods for me. I had started to get my age away, but I had started and I was in my young 30s will check your driver's license. I was in my young 30s and all of my friends and family had already just bought houses already had just gotten married. You know, they're maybe thinking about kids, but not really you're there yet, you know, and I my spear was more already at that point. Where I probably should have started the year or two prior darnit, I had to do a lot of self marketing. Yes. And because I had to do a lot of self marketing, I went out there. And everywhere I went, I would just somehow bring up the conversation, whether it was on the phone and in a line, or just randomly start talking to the person in front of me that Oh, about a house around the corner, or something to touch the real estate. Brilliant, in which I would start getting clients, Vicki. No, that's funny. We've been thinking about selling our house, do you want to come over and take a look at it, or we've been thinking about getting

Umar Hameed 5:33
out of the oven, I'm gonna give you a high five,

Karen Harms 5:36
nice, then thinking about getting out of the apartment? Can you help us? I've also then started realizing that because my sphere of influence was not so active at the time I had to find other realms of going about in marketing myself right in doing so I did a lot of cold marketing where a lot of agents fail.

Karen Harms 5:55
The cold marketing side. Yes.

Karen Harms 5:57
And I mastered the cold marketing side. So I went ahead and you know, between making phone calls, or doing online lead systems, such as Zillow, realtor homes, all this things, right, I, you know, put more money out front

Karen Harms 6:13
to get money in order.

Umar Hameed 6:15
So we're going to come back to that in a minute. Let's take a look at year two. How many houses did you do in year two?

Karen Harms 6:21
Approximately? About 34? Maybe a little higher?

Umar Hameed 6:24
34? So roughly around $8 million? Yes. So you did more of the same thing of just cold marketing and being that that hunter going out looking for opportunity?

Karen Harms 6:36
Absolutely. I would say about 70% of my business was cold marketing.

Umar Hameed 6:40
And I think before we started this interview, you were telling me that this year, you'll be on track to do about $10 million.

Karen Harms 6:46
Hopefully more, I always like to underestimate. I don't like jinxing myself, right? So I always underestimate. If I looked at the numbers, I should be closer to maybe 12 or 14, but I'm gonna just say 10 to make myself be on

Unknown Speaker 6:59
the lower side.

Umar Hameed 7:00
So being new into the real estate marketplace. Here's my hypothesis. And I want your thoughts on him that realtors fall into three buckets, you've got the eight players that do spectacularly well. You've got the B players that have a lot of potential, maybe make a living out of it, but never reach that plateau of a then you got c players that are kind of part time and is not working out. Well. Would you say that's a fair statement? I'd say it's a fair statement. Someone like you with your psyche and mindset, you are an A player blossoming, that your gut the drive and the passion to make this work that you know, as you move along, and obviously you're growing each year. Next year, you're gonna be probably putting a team together. already started. Brilliant. Before we go there, let's talk about some of the marketing things that you did and some of the activities that other realtors, might that have even been around might find scary. Give us your playbook if you can.

Karen Harms 7:58
Sure. So without giving all my little pointers, a lot of folks don't believe in internet marketing. They feel that they're not going to pay into a system that's trying to market to variety, different realtors at the same time, right? Basically, they don't like the challenge. For instance, online marketing systems, such as Zillow and realtor.com, you're consistently up against three four other people who could call faster now, the thing is not entirely on how fast you call, but on how well you communicate with that individual, that relationships relationship to let them know that you're not just here for the sale. But you're here for the referral, you're here for the long term, I find that a lot of folks, you know, even the new buyer's agents that I brought on, when they first get on that phone call, they're constantly like, Well, yes, here's about the house, and just spill their guts out. Rather than really listening and caring, of course, and and that it's really about listening and caring and letting that person know that whether this is the house or not, you will help them find the right house, you know, not necessarily the perfect house, because that's really hard to find these days, but find the right house that's going to fit them for their needs currently, and in whether it's going to be a day, you know, the first that you go out and find something which I've had or a year and a half, two years down the road, they remember you Yeah, that they're gonna keep coming back to you. And eventually you're going to get that sale. And in that meantime, if you connect with them on that first phone call, they're gonna remember your name, bro. And they're gonna keep calling you and keep asking you the question and eventually they will move to that spot.

Umar Hameed 9:34
So one of my friends Her name is Amy Kushner. She's a trainer for realtors. And she was saying one of the things she comes across is when there's another realtor involved. A lot of realtors will actually take the foot off the gas, because in their psyche, they know they're gonna lose. There's no data for it. There's no reason for it, but it's just that psyche piece, kind of your thoughts on that?

Karen Harms 9:55
Right. So I think there's a couple of different ways to look at it. One way to look at is we're taught as real In our ethics, that if somebody else has another realtor engaged that you need to back off, however, in that same line, and I'm not a legal profession or you know, an ethic committee person, disclaimer, disclaimer, however, in that same section, what I do is I ask, Are you currently working with the router? Yes. Oh, great. You signed a contract with them? how they do it? Oh, no, most of the time, the answer is going to be no, I don't have anything signed with them. And they're okay. We're in that first step. When they say yes, a lot of other people be like, Okay, well, you go call them, they'll take care of you. But when you take it that step further, you find out first, either they're unhappy. And, you know, they want somebody else and whether they sign that contract or not with them to utilize them. Even if they sign that contract to utilize them. If they're not happy. You can always mention Oh, okay, great. Well, if for some reason, you know, your continue to be to sift satisfied and decide to terminate that contract in writing with them. Let me know, and I'll be here for you. Brilliant. But otherwise, you know, best of luck. If you have any questions, I'm here to help, but you should really talk with that person. So

Umar Hameed 11:10
what you're saying is that your entire marketing genius is just asking people

Karen Harms 11:15
just asking people just caring,

Umar Hameed 11:17
that's huge, because one of the things that you know, people find really uncomfortable, is I don't want to be salesy. I don't want to be a salesperson. And it's like, if it's like, sure, don't be a salesperson, but be that person that cares and helps. And the end result is you get to help the person find the ideal home. Absolutely. I was talking to another realtor who is totally driven to succeed. And he was saying, one of the things I tell my team is that your only job is to help your prospect find their dream home before they do. So you deliver at that level, and you're going to get clients that are going to be there for a long time.

Karen Harms 11:52
Absolutely, yeah. And I tell people that, you know, my beginning training, with the company that I started with is very sales, you know, go through these, these courses in the sales, and it's all about sale, sale, sales, call, call call, call everybody in your phone book, on your phone, not once, not twice, but every single day until they pick up and they give you an answer on if they have reordered or not. To me, it's not about that. It's about slowly dripping to them slowly, you know, like they call the drip campaign and email. It's about slowly sending out things on how you can be a value to them, and how you can give them something,

Umar Hameed 12:27
it's a seduction.

Karen Harms 12:29
Yeah, and letting them know that you know, I'm not asking for your business. Now. I'm not asking for your business in a year. But if you know anybody, and they don't have anybody, and you know, you don't think they're going to be a fit with who you use right now. send them my way.

Umar Hameed 12:41
So it's all about intent as well. So you can have, let's say, some Russian secret agent that seduces to get secrets bad, but then you can have someone like yourself, that's more like, you know, hey, I want to be that trusted advisor to help you get the ideal home because it is the most expensive purchase you're ever going to make.

Karen Harms 13:02
Absolutely, absolutely. It's the same way that I trained. And I just hired two new buyer's agents to help me it's the same way one of them was highly experienced. She's been in the industry for three years, three, four years, probably slightly longer than I am right. However, her sales record was a lot lower. she dealt primarily with investors, which is different type of personalities. And I sat down in this room that we're in now with both of them and had them make phone calls in front of me with cold leads. And I determined that the one with the prior experience, the reason why I don't think she was getting to that level was the care factor. Right? really making you feel like that you care. Because with prior with investors, I should say, which are different market. They just want to know the bottom line, this analytical, analytical, I want to know the numbers, what I can do, how much it's going to cost them what I can make, because it's all about the money in the long run.

Umar Hameed 13:55
In fact, if she was caring at that point, it wasn't like, shut up just

Karen Harms 13:58
Yeah, they don't want to hear that they would be like No, just goodbye. I don't need this, you talk too much. So we went over and we've been adjusting the way that she communicates via phone the way that she communicates, just in general via email, and even her voicemail on her phone, completely changed it. And, you know, she now has several under contract. She's, you know, changed her attitude

Umar Hameed 14:21
was here, we give her a high five. And here's one of the tricks you can use when you're doing this with folks. I had this person that was coaching on how to be more effective on the phone. So he's doing some cold calls. And it's like, okay, so I record one of them. I said okay, who's your best friend is john he says called john right now invite him to the movies this Saturday. He says okay, calls john up, invites him to the movies. And then I said okay, now listen to the two recordings. Recording one is very like analytical, the voices tight, then it's play. The other one is warm, engaging as Okay. Do that on these calls. Absolutely. And soon You do that. And I could have told him that it would have been like, okay, but hearing it and hearing his own tonality It was like, like a light bulb went off.

Karen Harms 15:08
Absolutely. And I think people get excited you get excited because when we get leads over, or you know, somebody says yes, I'm pre approved for a million dollars, you see million dollars and you're automatically thinking, Okay, million dollars times this percentage, there's so much I can make. And you get really excited, right? So you try to oversell yourself. And it's not about overselling yourself, it's just about telling them that you care. And I, I sell properties from think the lowest I sold was about $27,000, the highest I've sold was 2.7 million right now. And I talked to every single person the same way in between that realm. I talked to that millionaire the same way, as I talked to the person who's buying a $30,000. Home, it's all about just letting them know, well, you know, maybe this isn't the right time, maybe you're not ready, or maybe it's not right step. But Call me if you have a question.

Umar Hameed 15:59
I'm here for you. So just deconstructing that a little bit. There's some people that you meet out there, that when you see them in public, and private is the same person, because they have the sense of integrity and how they behave is authentic. And it sounds like you're just doing that naturally, that ability to I want to help you find the right home, whether you're $27,000 house, or a $10 million house, it's all about the person and getting them to feel comfortable enough to kind of open up and say, I want to do this, but I'm afraid of this, and the more information they give you, the better job you can do for them.

Karen Harms 16:36
Absolutely. And I like to say that that is one of the reasons why I failed at corporate HR, I don't like to say, entirely failed, but that I didn't feel comfortable. And I was in the right spot. Because while you really want to help the manager, the individual and all those things, you can't you have a certain breakpoint, you know, you have to watch what you're saying you have to go by these rules. We're in real estate, you have these ethics, you know, that you have to go by, you have these rules that you have to go by, but they're more on a legal standpoint of contracts and not overstepping the line, not doing the wrong thing and stealing somebody else's client, or telling somebody else's client that Oh, your realtors really bad. You know, it's just helping them, helping them or helping that other realtor. I can't tell you how many times I've had other realtors call me Yes, asking me if my client was interested in house that I've showed. And I say no. But hey, can I give you some advice on that house and give them pointers? And they say, wow, I never thought about it. Or I went to a listing appointment and talked with a woman. And she said, Well, you know, I have a friend who I'm going to be listing with I said, that's great. I said, you know, I've seen your houses on the market before, can I give you some advice, whether you decide to list with me or not, you seem like a great person, let me help you paint this basement, remove this and change that. She did it. And it looks amazing. And went back when she realized, right? looks amazing. She didn't list with me, I'm not gonna make any money off of that.

Umar Hameed 18:00
However, she added value, I added

Karen Harms 18:02
value I helped her and who knows that if maybe her person she went with who she spend with decides to retire. Maybe she'll remember my name. And she'll give my name to somebody.

Umar Hameed 18:11
Brilliant. So I'm going to do something like scary and dangerous now. Okay, so you've had a great three years, and your third year with what you know, now, if you were redesigning that experience for someone else coming in, what would be the things you would change that would allow a new agent coming in, you know, green pass the exam? If you were designing that world? What would that look like to make the whole experience you get more realtors be more successful?

Karen Harms 18:37
I would tell them, it's not just about the sales,

Karen Harms 18:40
I think a lot of people see numbers and they know sales equals this percentage, which equals a commission check, which then equals money in your bank account. It's not just about that. It's about getting that connection. And moving to the next stage. It's about what like we had said talking about each individual as if they were a friend, and not some random person. It's uncomfortable it is but the reality is, is getting off the phone and just going out in person and just talking to people. It's one of those trainings that I I learned when I first started right. And I didn't want to do it. I hate calling people on the phone and just calling calling calling my phone list. I hate it to me. It's so impersonal. You know, I love texting, which is odd, but you know, but the thing is, is that you just have to do it. And if you don't like calling on the phone, go out to Starbucks in waiting the waiting a long line and just ask the questions. You know, no matter where you are the grocery store

Umar Hameed 19:46
anywhere, just human, they live somewhere.

Karen Harms 19:48
They live somewhere. Just ask them

Karen Harms 19:49
a question, say, hey, not trying to get anything from you. If you had a real estate agent in mind, who do you refer to? If they say somebody crazy What what makes them different? You know, I'm new. I'm trying to figure out why you said that person. Not about the sales of Yeah. Do you have a real estate even refer somebody to no great would it be me? No, it's more about finding out why they have somebody in what makes that person different. And if you could figure out that, then you can then learn yourself what you need to do to make yourself be that person who your friends are going to refer your family or that random person that you met in Dunkin Donuts, which I have. I mean, a month ago I did it. I met some random person and dunkin donuts. Just a nice lady. We were waiting in line joking about the line had a conversation. Turns out she's looking for a waterfront property. Didn't have a realtor. Brilliant. Have a new client.

Umar Hameed 20:44
Karen, thanks so much for sitting down with me. It was delightful.

Karen Harms 20:47
Thank you. It's great seeing you.

Umar Hameed 20:54
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of neuro-linguistic programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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