Shari McGuire is one of the authors in the new real estate business book, Becoming a Local LeaderⓇ. This book features 22 Top Producing agents who share their story and their strategies on how to grow one’s business through relationships and referrals. 

What you’ll find is a lot of chapters, in particular, Shari’s, where the agents talk about two parts of success. The first is their strategy. It’s what they do to help themselves get clients and turn them into raving fans so they get referrals. The second piece, which is typically more important, is this journey of self-development, where the agent learns how to remove limiting beliefs, which usually are in place when you first get into the business. And those limiting beliefs hold you back from the success that you can and will have if you can learn to be a leader and be a top producer and a confident competent agent. 

That’s the major question for RealtorsⓇ. One, what’s the strategy? Two, who do I need to be and how do I get there? Shari’s chapter does a wonderful job explaining her journey. 

This whole book project was something for a group of us in Parkbench to really tell agents how you do business through relationships and referrals, and how do you do it by being a leader of your community and give back to your community, versus some of the typical ways that agents build their business or tried to build their business, which is advertising, cold calling, cold prospecting, the stuff that makes a lot of the public dislike RealtorsⓇ. When you wrote this chapter, you had a message that you wanted to give agents. What was that main message that you hope agents get from your chapter?

The main message I want agents to get, you’ve actually mentioned it already, it’s really be who you are. Because when you try to be someone that you’re not, people sense it, people pick up on it. 

There are people that are really good at knocking on doors, and there are people who are really good at cold calling. They have huge businesses. I tried it. It doesn’t work. And so, I had to find what worked for me and what people will believe is me. That’s what everybody needs to do in order to be successful, I believe.

Let’s say I’m a new agent and I’m trying to figure out if I should do cold calling, if I should do door knocking, if I should buy leads. Or, should I be applying some of the principles that you and other authors in this book have, more relationship based, more community based? How does one figure out which approach is right for them?

I think one of the things is trial and error. Just get out there and knock on some doors a day, and not so much look at, “Am I good at it?” It’s, “Do I enjoy it? Is this something I would go out and do over and over and over again because you can get better at doing that. 

But if you’re like, “This really sucks, I don’t want to be out here” then find something else. I think you need to try a bunch of different things, and then find the one that feels like you, that feels like, “Yeah, I’m authentically being me.” And then, I can get better at it because you’re not going to be really good at something right away. And then, I believe the leads will start coming from that. You want a couple different avenues that you’re getting leads from anyway.

Okay. Let’s give people a sense of who you are because I’m sure some RealtorsⓇ will resonate and say, “Hey, I’m kind of like Shari.” So, why don’t you give people a background of who you are and why did you get into real estate?

Sure. The shorter story is that I had been in a big corporation. I walked away from that in 2010. I tried a lot of different businesses and contracting. And then, I was at a small firm and I got laid off like what happens to a lot of people. And then I was like, “Well, now what do I do?” 

And so, through the process of searching, a friend said, “Hey, you know what? You’d make a really good real estate agent.” I’m like, “That’s really interesting.” She’s a really good RealtorⓇ and she would tell you if you really suck at it before she’d say you’re really good at it. So, I trusted that advice. I realized 10 years earlier, I went to an information session to learn about becoming an agent but I was working 80 hours a week with a two-year-old at home. I mean, I couldn’t take on real estate too. So, I prayed about it, decided to just go for it, and took my exam. Boom! I got that.

A lot of people would have some fears and doubts and worries about making that leap. What allowed you to make that leap? What made you make that leap? How did you have the courage to make that leap? Because a lot of people need that or they need some wisdom to understand why other people have been able to do it or for them to be able to do it. So, tell RealtorsⓇ more how did you make that jump?

It was a really scary one for me because my family depends on my income. My husband, I love him to pieces. He’s not the primary breadwinner in our family. And so, I needed to make money. And hearing the stories of so few people actually making it was really scary. And yet, honestly, I told people, “If I didn’t do this, I didn’t know what else I would do. I was just going to crawl under a bridge and give up.” That’s how desperate I was, which is really sad. So, I just had that determination to say, “Let’s go for it.” I surrounded myself with really good people who could teach me. I’m a sponge. I just absorbed everything around me and never gave up. That’s the thing. A lot of people just give up while giving up wasn’t an option. I had to keep going. Because otherwise, I didn’t know what I was going to do. This truly is a passion for me. I love it. If you love what you’re doing, then you’ll get there. You just have to keep plugging away.

If you were to give some words that your friends would use to describe you that maybe is the reason why you have become a good agent, what would you say?

I think it’s about relationships. I would say for years, if I could just find a job where I can sit in a coffee shop and talk with other business owners and help them build their business, solve problems and earn a living myself, that’s the perfect job for me. Well, that’s what this platform has allowed for me to get access to because I can go out and help others and earn a living for my family too.

Now, one of the things you said in your book, which I wanted to touch on, is that many agents when they get in the business, they just want to get clients. They need to get clients to start making some money. And so, it’s like, why would a homeowner choose me? How are they going to remember to think of me when they’re looking to buy? How are they going to remember to think of me when their friend asks them, “Hey, who do you know is a RealtorⓇ?” In your book, one of the things I really liked was, people remember me not because I helped them sell or buy a house. They remember me because I don’t stop at the lawn sign. I literally have done hundreds of small things to make sure my clients are well taken care of. So, let’s go deeper into that. The goal is to get people to know you, like you, trust you, want to work with you because you did something for them and remember you so that when they need an agent, they think of you. Or when their friend asks them who they know, they think of you. What is your mindset around how to make that happen?

It’s a variety of things. One, being uniquely who I am. I just want to help. When I get a client and I get engaged in their dream, I want to help them make that dream come true and be their consultant working alongside them to find that. And so, when there are barriers in the way, I just jump in and try to solve that problem. 

One of my favorite stories, and actually, this came up this weekend and is the reason why I have a new client because I told that story. On Facebook, someone remembered it. And now our sister wants to move to town. But the story is that I was literally standing in a townhome with a client. And we’d found the perfect one. This layout was great for her, great location. I was waiting for the agent to call me back, the listing agent, and finally got a call. He said, “Oh, the seller just accepted an offer.” Well, great. So, I sent out letters to the whole neighborhood. 

One of the things I always say is, “I’ll find you something better.” And we found her something better. It was more private. It had more trees, it was in that same area and I just did the work that it took to get her something better.

That’s a good line to give a client when things go bad. “Hey, I’ll get you something better.” That really wasn’t the end stop. Now, one of the things you talked about as you got into business for yourself, and that’s a big change from being in corporate America and getting out of your own way. You know, people say that a lot. And so, maybe you can articulate what is getting in your way, look, and feel and sound like. And then, what does getting out of your own way look, feel, and sound like? Because how does one know if they’re getting in their way? And how does one know that they’re finally getting out of their own way?

Yeah, that’s interesting to talk about the part of being anyway because people, we don’t think about that talking that part. But it’s about like, you know pieces to do. And it’s like, more comfortable, for example. So, for me, in my past, I’ve done a lot of administrative work. And so, it’s easy for me to put up some mailing labels, or it’s easy and fun to create a little thing on Canva. And so, when I’m working too much on that stuff and not out there lead generating and talking to people, that’s getting in my own way because it’s kind of hard to do business when you’re just sitting there by yourself. You need to be talking with people. And so then, getting out of your own way is really, again, embracing that part of who you are. And time blocking is huge. I’m far from perfect at that. However, I’m working on that and getting good at saying, “This is the time in which I’m going to be doing my lead generation.” Whatever that looks like for me. And sticking to that because if I don’t do something today that shows up in 90 days in real estate, you’ve got to consistently do it to keep the business coming in.

When you say that it makes me kind of think, so you are a person and you have skills and comforts and things that you find easy. And then, you have this higher self that is where you want to go. It’s the person that you are when you’re having this success you want, having the business you want, the lifestyle you want in all ways, shapes, and forms of business and life. This old self gets in the way of the new self. You have to learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable to get your old self out of the way for the new self to come in which time blocking helps, which goal setting helps with which is being okay with some failure making mistakes as you attempt to become that person. As you said that, that’s really what helps me summarize it because it really is true. A lot of entrepreneurs and business owners get in their own way. The current self is getting in the way of the new higher self that’s trying to break through. 

Now, breaking through is in every agent’s mind when they first get in the business. They don’t have clients and you talk about this. They need to get clients. The failure rate is extremely high. I think it’s like 50% their first year out. I think 87% after five years or something, 95 after like seven or something. It’s a really high failure rate. Why do you think that is? And if you were to give advice to a new agent who’s getting into it and still trying to figure it out, what are some of the things you did to help you have some more consistency and stability?

One of the things would be simply – I hate to say working hard enough but certainly just not committing to it and saying, “I’m all in. I’m going to go for this.” Because you can’t just say, “Well, let me try it this week. And then next week, don’t try it.” That’s really hard for people who are still having a full-time job. That can be really difficult. And so, you’ve really just got to get invested in it and understand it. And keep going. I think of the cartoon where the man is like digging through the dirt. He’s almost there and he gives up. I think that happens a lot to people where we’re almost there. I’ve done that many times myself. And you give up. If you only could just tweak. So, find a brokerage that will support you and will train you. And when you have problems, ask for help. Don’t just try and do it yourself because no one succeeds alone. You’ve got to just ask for that help. And then, if someone gives you advice and they say, “You know what? This is what you’re doing. You need to tweak it this way.” Actually, take their advice and give it a shot. Even if it doesn’t feel comfortable because they know something. If they’re making lots of money and you don’t have any clients, there’s something to be learned from them.

You talked about the lack of training being a big reason why agents do fail, and I’ve seen it. What is the training that has been most helpful to you?

Oh, wow, that’s interesting. That’s one of my downfalls is I love to absorb all of the different training. But certainly, one of the things that’s been super helpful is following the seven levels of communication process because that’s truly a relationship building. That’s a book by Michael J. Maher. That’s been really helpful. The other training that has really helped, you can see with Keller Williams, they have great programs within that that you can take, but really then it’s taking the time to ask questions over and over. Not the same question all the time but like, “I wonder how this works.” and go find that answer. “I wonder how this works.” Go find that answer. And I love what Parkbench has put together. I have a whole binder full of information that’s really helped with that piece that was missing for me of turning these relationships into business opportunities. 

A big part of your story was centred around how you recognized you had some limiting beliefs, you had some negative thoughts, energies, things that were holding you back from having more success. And then, you went on and you figured out some ways to get through that are QNRT, being this cool technique or process that you went through. Can you describe that for everyone reading, because that might be something that they want to try if they have a similar situation to you?

I think some people can overcome these barriers to coaching and things like that. Some of us have childhood traumas that are just so stuck and ingrained in who we are that you need that therapy beyond talk therapy. So, this is quantum neuro reset therapy, QNRT. Typically, you’ll find a chiropractor. And if you just type in QNRT you’ll find people that are locally practicing that. It’s a rebooting and rewiring from your brain to your nervous system. It’s really, truly, a different kind of therapy compared to EMDR, they’re tapping into eye movement and things. So, there’s nothing weird about it. It’s for real. It unblocks those things that you’ve been carrying with you that it sets a new pattern. And, you know, it’s not just once and done. You’ve got to go through a process of these. But truly, it’s been life changing for me to just shed some of that stuff from childhood that you carried into your life because you act a certain way.

Now you talk about time. People wish it was just so easy and quick to get through it. How much time has it taken? Do you see it taking? How much time do you devote to it? You put attention on it. Give people a sense of what is that level of commitment, which then therefore means time to break through and become the person you need to be?

Well, it’s as long as it’s going to take for you personally. And you’ve got to just keep knocking on that door. It’s again, that guy that’s going through because I’ve tried, you know, talk therapies. I’ve tried coaches. I tried all kinds of different things. You just gotta keep going until you find the one that works. So, QNRT, I started doing that last August, I think. At that point, I started seeing something shift in my business and truly started taking off from there. It could have, I suppose, gone faster for me if I would have done it like every single week, but quite frankly, it’s expensive. And so you have to budget for it. And yet, still here I am. So much better off for it. And so, if it’s something that people are just struggling to break through and you’ve had a childhood trauma. In fact, CDC (Centre for disease control) actually has a study on childhood trauma and how that affects people. They use that for this method. You’ve just gotta keep going until you get those breakthroughs. 

And then, what’ll happen for me is I’ll get a breakthrough. And then, I go boom, boom, boom, boom. And because I’m becoming more and more aware of myself and what my blocks are, I go, “Oh my gosh. This is totally holding me down. I got to go figure this out and get it out, you know, reset that one. And then, we could do a reset. And, you know, on to the next thing.

I think it’s important for people to hear just the idea that you keep trying to find the method. It may be QNRT, it may be something different. If they really want the outcome, you just keep looking for the method that gets you there. Now, you have some strategies I know people want to know in terms of things that have helped you grow your business, things that realtors can implement to help them grow their business. What are some of the ones that you’d want to share with everyone listening?

What I love doing is that relationship building. And so, where I really began to find my stride was when the pandemic started, I created a Facebook group. It was for the community. We are doing nice things in the community, like a school supply drive. We are talking about the community, supporting the small business owner, and getting out there and really understanding them. And so, I had then created a website to go with that on my own. I was interviewing business owners, local people, and there was a blog style that was going on. And then, really what happened was, I discovered Parkbench and went, “Oh, my gosh, this is like taking what I’ve been trying to do and putting it on steroids because look at all this stuff that they built out that I can just tap into and become a part of.” And then I can go even bigger with what I want to do. You look like you got your stuff together a lot more. If it’s got that professional look, do it. To me, that was fine. It wasn’t the worst thing ever but it’s just so much better. And then the videos are great to put out there. 

I bring that and it comes together with other things that I do. Like, I just had an ice cream social yesterday. I gave out free ice cream. We had a charity partner of Best Christmas Ever, and a partner with Maple Grove Women of today to raise money for Best Christmas Ever to support a family who’s having a really, really bad year through no fault of their own. Like, you know, a child who’s got cancer or a mom who just passed away, crazy things going on. That’s the fun thing. It rallies the community and people are seeing that. And you know, guess who came to the event, the business owners that I’ve interviewed, the people on that Facebook group that have enjoyed what I’m doing, the people that I also just talked to on Facebook on my profile page. I asked lots and lots of questions. And sorry, guys, you won’t be able to see those if you friend me because all the RealtorsⓇ go in a special category. Because can you imagine having hundreds of agents answer those questions? That would not work well for what I’m trying to do of just being curious as the whole “be interested to be interesting” because I’ll ask them questions. There Are times when I’m like, “Oh, that reminds me. I want my Sunday blah blah blah blah blah.” You can’t do that. I refrain. I ask them more questions about that. From that, people just plain reach out and say, “Hey, you know what? I need your help to buy a house.” Or, “My sister’s moving to town.” Or whatever it could be. And that’s being me authentically and that’s working.

I think one of the things that I’m mindful of listening that I know works for so many businesses, if you’re going to build your business through relationships and referrals in a community, and you either already are active in nonprofits, PTA, HOA, or community events and stuff like that, to have a Facebook page around the community, a platform online for the community, to then tie everything that you’re then doing with all the businesses and the community groups together is the great way to do it. Because if you’re going to do all that work, you might as well be promoting on the Facebook page, the community page, your personal page, and then use that as ways to then get more attention and more engagement on the stuff that you do. 

Now, you don’t have to share all the questions that you ask but if you could give the RealtorsⓇ one or two questions you think are really effective for asking their audience on Facebook to engage their friends, what will be your couple of questions?

Yeah. Let me think of a couple that are really good. It’s good when you start out in it and keep going like once a week or twice a week on this kind of a yes or no kind of question. So, it can be Coke or Pepsi. Or it can be coffee or tea, you know, that kind of stuff. And people get very passionate about their beverage. They’ll say more than just the answer. There’ll be like, “I can’t get my day going until I have my coffee or whatever it might be.” And so, you engage in that. And then, you want to also comment and interact with them. 

Other things that are really good. Yesterday, I put up one. It was, “Which is older, you or your house?” And so, that was a really clever way to put in real estate without being an agent. You know what I’m saying? It’s okay to put things in there once a while. 

Another really big one that I did was, “If I gave you $50,000 to improve your house, what would you do?” And out of that I got a client because then they were thinking only like, “Yeah, I really want to move.” But you don’t want to do that a lot. And mostly just make it relationship stuff. Or what’s something that your kid did, or what made you smile today. So, sources I’ll tell you. SignUpGenius is a weird source. But SignUpGenius has 100 questions or so of like, here’s things you can ask. Those work really well. And just get into curiosity.

Those are some great questions because it really is about engagement. Engagement helps keep you top of mind. And sometimes non-real estate, and probably most of the time, non-real estate-oriented questions can actually get people to talk and engage and now you’re in conversation. And really, conversations are what leads to the conversion. That’s what leads to that person using you and referring to you. I love that.

I want to finish with your thoughts on why agents should pick up the book. So, I’m an agent out there. I might be new. I might be in the business for 30 years. I’m just thinking about how to improve my business. And here’s this book that’s not the typical, “Here’re some sales scripts about real estate.” Or, “Here’re some marketing strategies.” Or, “Here’s this blueprint of building a team.” It’s a book on becoming a leader for the community. Why should RealtorsⓇ pick up this book?

One, it’s just interesting to read other people’s stories. You can get inspired by what someone has come through to get to be that successful or to the level of success that they’re at. So, just number one, from curiosity. I’m excited to read the book and read everybody else’s stories because they’re all such unique people. But beyond that, I think that because there’s a variety of people that are in the book, there’s a variety of reasons and approaches and ways that they’re using Parkbench as a tool to become that local leader. And so, I think that whether you’re brand new or you have been in it forever, you’re going to get some really good ideas. And if you even take just one or two and run with those, that would really be helpful because people think they should implement all 100 ideas that they read. And then, it’s overwhelming and they don’t do any of it. So, look for the golden nugget that really fits you, a couple of ideas and go for it.

When you go to a trade show, the majority of companies are advertising based. The majority of companies that call agents are trying to sell in some form of advertising or lead buying or some coaching program. I think a lot of agents still are having a hard time resonating with a lot of that because most people get into real estate because they like people, they like helping people, they like helping their community, they want to be more social. And yet they struggle to maybe find an approach that connects with them, that aligns with their personality and their values. 

If you are listening and you’ve struggled to resonate with some of the stuff out there and find the approach right for you, I think there will be a real estate agent in this book that will actually go, “Ah, that sounds like me, that feels like me. I’m going to try what they’re doing because it’s working for them.”

I want to thank you for being a part of the book and sharing a bunch of good ideas, including some extra ones today on today’s show. If people do want to get in touch with you, if they maybe want to join your team, or if they want to at least connect with you and learn from you and maybe build a relationship with you for business in the future, how can they get in contact with you?

PS. The one thing that I’ve really realized in life is that when you go out there and you take the responsibility of trying to be a leader for your community, you actually feel more fulfilled and feel happier, and the money and the business works itself out.