Pat Love is one of the authors in the new real estate business book, Becoming A Local LeaderⓇ, that features the stories of 22 top producing agents, who through their story share their strategies on how to build a business through relationships and referrals. Most importantly, for anyone who’s getting started in the career of real estate, how to have a career in real estate, how to not be one of the 95% of agents that don’t make it past five years. 

The one thing that I’ve seen binds all of these agents together in this book is they value relationships. What that means is they actually spend time and money networking and giving value to the people they meet, and the people in their farm area. Pat’s been a client of Parkbench for many years. Internally, when we always talk about who is a client that epitomizes the belief that if you focus on helping people first, not only will the business grow, but so will the other areas of your life. And so, will you be fulfilled in this career of real estate

What is the main message that you hope agents get out of your chapter?

Well, I think the main message is to not get discouraged because when you start out in real estate and back in the olden days when I started, I don’t really think we understood the power of mentorship and all of that stuff. I think they’re still doing it. Where I come from anyways, you take your real estate course, you pass the test, (the general public shouldn’t know this) but you end up not really knowing what you’re doing. 

And so, there you are. You are trying to learn how to be a competent RealtorⓇ. Yet, how can you learn to be a confident RealtorⓇ without any clients? If we don’t have clients, there’s no business. It is very discouraging when you don’t know how to get them. That’s what I would like people to take from my chapter – that big struggle is sort of just how to make those connections. I didn’t really even understand that I needed those connections. “Oh, I can do this now. Here’s my service. Come get me.”

Let’s go deeper into that. I find a huge part of getting through struggles and problems as a professional is having some solace around, it’s normal if you’re having this struggle, it’s normal if you’re feeling this feeling, it’s normal to have this thought about your business and about your career. Can you maybe shed some light to some of the struggles and the downs that you think is normal for other agents to go through and just know that you can get over it?

I was very young when I started so I had that bit of battle. People look at you, you don’t know anything because you’re too young. I think it’s even worse now. I didn’t think it possibly could be but now I think people remain young looking so much longer. I think my parents’ generation embraced being mature and gaining respect and all that and we don’t really do that. And that was a huge struggle for me at the beginning. 

I think in particular, this building relationships gives you credibility. I’ve always been a connector but not really aware that I was. But now everyone I know, if they need something, they say, “Oh, just send Pat a text.” Any services, “Oh, this is happening.” Or, “I need this. I need that.” They just sent me a text. Now, they just come to me for everything and it builds credibility with everything you do. 

I think that when you’re sitting there at home in your home office and you’re all alone, I think connecting with other RealtorsⓇ is even more important. So, you do know. I think my number one advice besides signing up for Parkbench is to go get a mentor. 

How do you pick a good mentor? What does that mean to you? 

Well, you want to find someone who’s generous with their time like you are. Someone who has learned how to build relationships. Indirectly, maybe not even from my same business have mentors. You don’t have to have a mentor who’s in the same business as you. I met a lot of people through networking, just joining networking groups. 

One woman in particular, I was talking to her last night sharing some stuff, she’s not in the same business as me. But I was bouncing some exciting ideas that have come to me actually from a young RealtorⓇ who I’m mentoring and I met her through Parkbench. I don’t really call it mentoring. I met her. She lives about a two-hour ferry ride from me. I met her about a year and a half ago. I get many calls. Should I sign up for Parkbench? Tell me all about Parkbench. I get so many calls for that. 

We connected. We chatted. Her parents live in my city. And so, she came to town. I met her about a year ago. She recently referred me to someone who was moving from her area to here. And then, she just recently came to town again. She’s more like my mentor. That’s what’s nice is that someone brand new, they have fresh ideas. They’re excited about the business. So, it’s good if you want to be a mentor. It does restart you in thinking of new ideas. She’s given me some which are top secret right now. We will let you know how those all come together, maybe in our next book.

Okay. Well then, you talked about people needing to learn how to be good at this job because the people that bring you into this industry don’t do a very good job due to lack of resources and stuff. People need to learn how to be good. They need to learn how to be a competent RealtorⓇ. So, how do people learn how to be a competent RealtorⓇ?

Well, some people choose to join a team. They have that. When I started, we didn’t have teams. I don’t think teams even existed. You got busy. You hired an assistant but you didn’t really have a team. I think that that is a way for some people to do it because then you have sort of a built-in mentorship, and you have someone with a desire to help you because your competitors, no matter how nice and kind they are, there’s people who won’t help you. Yes, there are people who will, but they’ll hold back. They won’t tell you everything or whatever. But yeah, becoming competent is just doing the job and getting a client so you become competent. It’s sad but true. 

As Grant said, people sign you up, people talk you into becoming a RealtorⓇ. They don’t tell you all the bad. Every time you turn around as a RealtorⓇ, there’s a phone call. “Oh, you should sign up for this.” And the famous line and you might be guilty of this too is, “Oh, it’s just one commission check.”

We’ve trained our team to never say that. They hear that all the time. Don’t use that one.

Just one. It won’t cost you. You’ll make your money back so fast. And, you know, why I tell people about Parkbench when I have my discussions, I tell them, “Parkbench is like going on Weight Watchers. If you do it, it will work.” It’s very simple. It’s a beautiful thing. I said to somebody, actually somebody you know, somebody you’re related to. She thanked me for being part of Parkbench. I said, “Well, I have to thank somebody because Parkbench has changed my life.” It really truly has. It’s magic because I was doing all that stuff but not with intention. Every day, I actually look forward to prospecting. That’s the best advice I can give a RealtorⓇ.

Find a way to enjoy prospecting.

Find a way because it’s everything. And if you’re not enjoying it, you will quit. Because it’s just a negative experience. And this has made a negative experience, amazing.

Well, I love hearing that. Again, that is the goal that Amanda and I had when we created this. It was like, we need to figure out how to network and prospects in a way that we enjoy. This is just one of our ideas. Now, along the way, one thing that we both share is we have these traditional parents that say, “Don’t do that. Don’t have your own business. Get a job. Maybe don’t do real estate.” What would you say to agents out there who have that spouse or those parents who are uncertain about them getting into having their own business and getting into real estate? How do you get over that or get through that?

Well, that’s part of my story. My dad was like that with my sister. It wasn’t that she wanted to be a small business or self-employed but, in my family, you graduated from high school and you went to university because that was not, back in my parents’ day, not an opportunity offered to many. 

And so, that’s where that culture came from in my family. However, my dad didn’t work for anyone. He was a professional engineer. He started his own business and that’s what he did. So, that’s where I learned my desire to be an entrepreneur. I’m a serial entrepreneur. It’s quite scary when you read my chapter. I mean, there’s things I’ve done. I think, “Why did I do that?” But it’s all on your journey. 

So, to get past people’s expectations, you just have to have your own confidence in you. You can’t listen to all the outside noise. You have to follow your heart, your passion, and find out who you are. I think nowadays, they know more about who they are. They’re not being told, “This is your tradition. These are the things you should do.” I’m quite a bit older than you, so what traditional female jobs were, that’s what the expectation was. But now, I think people are allowed to be who they are when they’re growing up as opposed to, well, you fit in this box.

It’s true. There are way more options, way more open mindedness to doing whatever. Entrepreneurship has become like this cool thing versus kind of like, “You’re an entrepreneur. That means you’re unemployed.” That used to be how it started even when I started there. I was like, “What do you do?” I’m like, “Well, I’m an entrepreneur.” And they’re like, “So, you couldn’t get a job?” That was the mindset of people. And now it’s really like, “Oh, I want to be an entrepreneur. I want to have my own business.” 

I sometimes feel that people who shouldn’t be an entrepreneur are doing it. What are your thoughts on that? How does one figure out if they really should be in for business on their own? Or if they should work for someone else or have a partnership or be on a team and stuff like that?

Well, I think you get to know. I think you do truly know yourself deep down inside. That’s why my travels through real estate, I wasn’t in completely. I had one foot in, one foot out for a very long time. When I finally decided that I was all in, I knew that I had chosen the right path. Working with people and building relationships, I knew. I think you just know in your heart. You have to listen to it. You’ll know. If you’re not making any money for 10 years and you’re unemployed basically, as Grant calls it, you’ll know, but you have to embrace it in your heart and not so much that you should get out. I think we all truly know the answer to that. We just have to acknowledge it. 

Let’s have people get to know you a little bit because we kind of dug into some details. There are three questions that I have to ask you based on your chapter. How many umbrellas do you have in Vancouver? Pat is from North Vancouver, where it rains a lot. And so, you can tell a Vancouverite, as she says in her chapter, by how many umbrellas they have, a coffee in their hand, and they frequent beaches for bonfires and hangouts. So, how many umbrellas do you have? What’s your coffee brand? And what’s your favorite beach?

Okay. Well, how many umbrellas do I have? I probably have three in my car alone. And that’s just in my car, because I have one of the ones that flips inside out so your car doesn’t get full of water, and one that goes down by itself when you are carrying too many things. But a true Vancouverite doesn’t use an umbrella. You probably know that.

Yes. My parents always had umbrellas but I don’t remember using them very much. I’m from Vancouver for anyone who doesn’t know. I’m from Vancouver, born and raised. We just put on a jacket. I remember saying to Amanda, “You need a rain jacket.” She’s like, “Rain jacket?” “Yeah, I see you. You don’t have a rain jacket in your closet.” She’s like, “Why would I need a rain jacket?” I’m like, “That’s just a standard piece of clothing.” 

Okay. So, what about your coffee?

Well, because I’m community minded, I’m embarrassed to say. But they’re a community minded company. Starbucks is my go-to. I like my Starbucks but in North Vancouver there are so many beautiful coffee shops. I think it’s the app, you know, to be able to order it and just buzz in and grab it. It’s all about convenience for me. If Starbucks is listening, we need a drive thru Starbucks in North Vancouver, please! 

Oh, you don’t have a drive thru yet? 

No. We don’t allow that kind of thing. It’s a very uptight, ‘we’re in control’ kind  of neighborhood, you know. They don’t even want you in a car anymore, Grant.

Okay. And then, what’s your favorite beach to hang out at and maybe have some bonfires at?

Well, we don’t have bonfires anymore. They’re not allowed. That was a thing of the past. But my favorite beach is actually in West Vancouver. My cousins live very close to Dundarave. And that’s pretty much the worst thing about my childhood, Dundarave. It’s set before 25th Street in West Van. I took my oldest son who is now 24. I took him to a day camp there when he was probably about six or seven years old in the summertime. I dropped him off there on my way to work. And I’d be going, “What the heck am I doing? I’m going to work and he’s getting to enjoy this beautiful sunny day at this beach.” 

Okay. Let’s give people kind of a perspective into yourself as a RealtorⓇ, your career, and why you got into real estate.

My original profession was that of a hairstylist. There’s a lot of connecting with people. If we talk about another business, that doesn’t make much money. So, I did that for a few years. The economy wasn’t great. I won’t tell you what decade because we don’t want everybody to know how old I am. 

My dad had his engineering firm and he kind of wanted, even though he’s entrepreneurial, me to have some stability. He said, “I think you should come work for me.” When my paycheck started to bounce, “You should come work for me.” So, I went into the business and I learned the traditional girl stuff. Let’s say, I became his secretary. That’s what they called them back then. I learned word processing on a machine called a Xerox 860. It cost $200,000. Yes, for a word processor. It’s not that long ago, but it’s probably before you. 

Anyway, I worked for my dad for about six years. I learned everything. That was the beginning of the computer era. I learned everything about that. And then, my dad retired. I didn’t want to stay there without my dad there. It felt weird. I thought, you know, I’ve always had an interest in law. I really liked that and I would have gone on to university and become a lawyer. But the thought of, you know, eight years in school, after 12 years in school just wasn’t my cup of tea. So, I didn’t choose that route. 

One day, I think I was at a kid speech one day and I ran into a friend of mine. She says, “Oh, I’m taking my real estate.” Yeah, maybe that’s something I should look into. I didn’t look into it. Probably if I looked into it a little further, I would have not done it. Because I didn’t really know. I was sort of known for leaping and then looking. So, I took the course and that’s how it started. It was a rocky road. I found real estate to be an uphill battle. 

I adjusted my life. I’m constantly adapting because I have things that have happened to me over the years, which you will read in the book. I just adapted and finally I adapted to something to make this business be something that I loved, and never really loved until now.

What changed? There are a few things I want to touch on, but let’s go deep on that one. What was that tipping point for you and how did that change?

Well, the tipping point was to say to myself, okay. As RealtorsⓇ, we have a lot of gurus, shall we say. We have people wanting to sell us programs, where they’ll teach us how to become them. And sure, it works for some people. But I had to figure out what the top things to do to make a living. I don’t need to have all the fancy stuff. I’m not that person. I’m not also a person who will tell you that I’m number one here. I’ve got this award there. I’m not that person. Because really, when people buy and sell real estate, they need a trusted partner in the transaction. I knew how important that was. I just needed to find a way to connect with people who would appreciate what I brought to the table. And that’s when it changed. When I started connecting with people, when I started networking properly with people who I wanted to be around, and they could learn about me and who I am. That’s when it changed. 

Real Estate is much like this. I was sharing a Zoom interview with another business person yesterday. I can’t compare being a new RealtorⓇ today, but I can just tell people my experience. So, back in the old days, we did those things. We knocked on doors and we phoned people and we held open houses. Anyone who even uttered the words “I might be buying. I might be selling. Can I have the catalogue?” You were like a dog with a bone on them. And that is so sad because you’re so desperate to find business. All my friends say, you’re always busy when you’re busy because when you’re not busy, they can smell desperation and it repels them. So, now with all my relationships, I’m never desperate. I just know deep inside that it will come.

Why do you think that is? Because people who get into real estate have relationships. They’ve got people on their phone, Facebook, or LinkedIn, just like I’m sure you had when you got going. But then, you did something different with those relationships, you built new ones that were better for business. Talk to me about some of the changes you’ve made with building relationships and nurturing relationships.

Well, the number one change. First of all, my advice to all RealtorsⓇ, don’t call your friends and tell them that you are RealtorⓇ. Well, why don’t you call them and tell them you sell Amway? Or that you’re a multi-level marketer. Okay. To protect your inner being, it’s best to build new relationships, as opposed to using the ones you have because your soul will be crushed.

Why don’t people talk more about that? Because I agree. I’ve experienced the downside of getting the advice, go talk to your sphere, go talk to your friends and family, get them to be your customer and client and all that stuff. And it definitely tarnished relationships. Why don’t people talk more about that?

Well, for one thing, I think the companies that you join, they know, and this is scary. They know that a brand-new RealtorⓇ has about a year and a half or two years of goodwill business given to you by friends and family. Okay. And then, you’re out. Then, you’ve run out of anybody who’s doing business with you because they care about you and they’re nice to you. And then, you have to come up with a way not to do that. 

I belong to so many Facebook groups with RealtorsⓇ, and the same thing over and over again. “Oh, my best friend got me to do all this comparable marketing analysis. And then, they hired another RealtorⓇ.” And then all these friendships dissolve. Not because you dissolve them, but because they did what they did. They feel bad. Now, they can’t look you in the eye. And so, that’s why I think it’s best to be completely separate. 

I don’t know why. I think it’s just easy for people to say, “Oh, call all your sphere. Where else are you going to find them?” What I do now with Parkbench, it’s given me an opportunity to build a separate sphere. And yes, some of those people have crossed over to my heart sphere now. My number one thing, I think I decided about 12 years ago, when a family member did what they did to me, that I never wanted to do business with. If they call me, I’m not going to say, “No, I’m not going to help you.” But I’m certainly not going to bank on it.

Part of our story when we started this was almost by fluke. I’m from Vancouver and I lived in Toronto. I didn’t know anyone. And then, I had to come up with a way to meet people in my area because I didn’t have a sphere and I also didn’t have a great network after having negative experiences with previous businesses trying to reach out to all the people in my phone and Facebook and stuff like that. I’ve really learned that strangers have everything that you need and want, you just need to get to know them. You just need to give value to them, and build a relationship with them. 

We’re in this post pandemic world. We’re still there, but we’re moving through it. You talk about adoption in your business. So, why don’t you give people some advice like, being in a career in the industry for so long, what changes have you made in your business because of this new world? How do you think agents should adapt moving forward?

Well, I’ll tell you what I did prior to this lovely pandemic, which has brought us many wonderful things. It really truly has. I have interviews with people and they’ll bring up, “Well, because of the pandemic, I did this and it changed this.” When I was doing this previously networking with businesses, I’d always meet them at a coffee shop, which was great, I love it. But I was never too keen on videoing my interviews. Well, you know that I don’t want to be on camera anyway. You know that at the beginning. 

But what led me to continue the other way was I plunked my phone on the table to record the interview so that I could transcribe it later. And the look of panic on the business owner’s face. “You’re going to record this?” And I said, “Well, I have to record it. My memory is good, but it’s not that good.” And I said, “I’ll be the only one listening to it, I promise.” And I thought to myself, “How the heck would I put them on camera if you can’t even record the conversation on my phone?” Uphill battle, uphill battle. 

It wasn’t important. And it really wasn’t important. So, I started doing Zoom interviews in December after I think I watched a video where Grant said, “If you don’t embrace Zoom now, if you’ve got Zoom fatigue, it’s all over.” You were right. And I thank you for that. Because in December, I think I interviewed 23 people. In December, the busy months where no one has time. But in a pandemic, everybody has time. 

So, I embraced video Zoom interviews. I also learned to edit videos. I’m still trying to sort of get my scripts down on doing some. I’ve done some Q&A’s with some businesses, so that brand new people into real estate. I’m not saying RealtorⓇs. I’m saying businesses that are trying to get clients via our relationship. I interviewed a mortgage broker. I interviewed a building inspector. We don’t call them that. She told me not to call them that. They are home inspectors. Yeah, she gave me a bit of tough love. I’m calling her a building inspector. But, yeah. I did some Q&A’s that way. I’ve never done anything like that. I would have never done anything like that had there not been a pandemic going and I’d been trapped in the house and I learned how to use Zoom because of Parkbench, video editing because of Parkbench. 

I’ll tell you. I’ve done two really cute things with learning how to edit video. I made my husband for Father’s Day, a video with music and pictures of him and the kids. I mean, he doesn’t have much of a heart. So, he didn’t cry. But all my friends who saw it were in tears. “Oh my God. I can’t believe you did that.” I honestly can’t believe I did it. 

Once again, talking about Parkbench changed so many things. Not just real estate, money, whatever. It’s changed so many things. And the pandemic. So, that’s what the pandemic did for me. I learned it and I loved it. 

Is there anything that you see sustaining moving forward? The world continues to open up and get back to “normal”, is there stuff that you think is going to stick?

Yeah. I think of interviewing this way. For sure. Just because it saves time. When you meet somebody in their business or whatever, they’ve got to take more time away, you have to drive there, all of these things. This just cuts down on the time. Time is precious. And so, when they just have to plunk down in front of the computer in their office for 15 minutes, it’s much easier for them because you go through niceties on the Zoom call but it’s not the same. It’s just so much better for your time management. People now aren’t as nervous to be on video this way. That’s a gift of the pandemic.

What would be the final thing you want to say to people? We know the benefits of the book. What would you want to say to agents as to why they should pick up the book and read your chapter and the other agents’ chapter on becoming a leader in their community and growing their business?

Well, I think it’s always good to hear other people’s stories. And because there are 22 RealtorsⓇ, you might find someone who’s like you in that book and their story resonates with you. And maybe there’s a possibility you can reach out to them and connect and learn some things from them further. Maybe ask them to be your mentor, that sort of thing. I think it’s important to feel that connection with people to know that other people have gone through the same struggles and this is how they adapt to them. 

I’m more of an on-the-fly person. So, there are people who are very good at, you know, oh, they have their agenda. This is what I do. It sounds like somebody I know. This is what I do at 6am. I am not that person, no matter how much. I am that person but it’s not written down. 

It’s effortless. It’s like being an actor who’s off book. I don’t know if you know what that means. They have this script memorized. Right? It looks effortless. And I’m not saying it’s effortless. I’m just saying the way they do it, they know what their plan is but it’s not legislated. And I had to be like that because I have an interesting family. I have people with challenges in my household. So, you have to constantly adapt. If something goes sideways, I have to go, “Well, this can go. That can’t.” And so, that’s basically it. You got to find your groove.

Now, if people do resonate with you and they want to get in touch with you, they want to connect with you, learn from you, maybe refer to your business, or build a relationship with you to maybe have business go their way. How can agents get in contact with you?