What's Your Elevator Speech?

Chris Heller wasn’t specifically doing an elevator pitch in his April 5 article on agentadvice.com, “5 Reasons You Should Join Your Local Board of REALTORS®.” But the way he presents his advice succinctly touts the benefits for a REALTOR® to join an association.

“By joining your local organization, you’ll be gaining access to one of the largest trade organizations in the U.S.— the National Association of REALTORS®,” writes Heller, chief real estate officer at OJO Labs and former CEO at Keller Williams Realty International. “Other benefits include the ability to network with local [real estate professionals] and staying informed about local regulations affecting the industry. Local organizations often provide training and education resources. You’ll also be able to improve your relationship with your current customers. The title of ‘REALTOR®’ means you’ve put time and effort into making sure your clients’ best interest is at the heart of what you do.”

Why real estate professionals should join their local or state association is a question that association executives are always asking, honing their messages to inspire potential members to become not just involved but also fully engaged.

Short and Sweet

At Howard County Association of REALTORS® in Maryland, recruitment efforts for affiliate and full members are summed up with two phrases: “The partner you want. The support you need.”

Those words were part of a postcard—which also briefly highlighted member benefits—sent to members last year ahead of dues billing.

Sarah Rayne, RCE, CAE, who became CEO in November, says HCAR’s 2,200 real estate agents and preferred partners—its term for affiliates—have come to expect far-reaching services. Her elevator speech centers on a quick summary of the details.

“We have many unique, valuable membership benefits: Free continuing education for all members; involvement in a thriving 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, HCAR Cares; progressive diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; an on-site REALTOR® store with heavily discounted products; a staff with more than 40 years of experience in the REALTOR® association; free quarterly shredding and e-cycling services; and complimentary access to Zip Forms and Smart Charts Pro,” says Rayne. She can attest to the value of the education as well, since she also holds the At Home With Diversity and EPRO certifications.

Real Value

Where else can REALTOR® members get invaluable support services at less than $2 a day?

It’s important to focus on not only the details of membership but also its low cost, says Candy Roberts Joyce, RCE, CAE, executive vice president of the Middle Tennessee Association of REALTORS®, based in Murfreesboro. She mentions cost directly in her elevator pitch, then discusses how the investment is well worth it, noting that one of the main benefits is keeping in touch with elected officials and pending legislation. Education is important, too, she says: “Knowledge is the key to success, and it is the never-ending process to learn and hone the current skills and tools that keep our professionals growing and excelling.”

As part of her elevator pitch, Joyce says, “We are the first point of contact for our members’ services, offering stellar education, professional development opportunities, career services, legal risk reduction updates and training, and political advocacy for your career, family and community.” She also rolls out many other services: “Dispute resolution services, career tools that keep you at the top of your game, specialty supplies at a convenient stop-and-shop location, community connections and events that promote the value of a
REALTOR®, and social networking with business partners that can assist you and your client.”

She then will say that the cost of all that is $1.52 per day.

“Additionally, we have a fabulous facility for members to train in with the newest technology and multiple rooms for the meeting size they need—and that’s free to use,” she says. “What an amazing investment!”

MTAR serves nine counties in Middle Tennessee, and Joyce says the association’s size naturally brings diversity.

“The diversity of our membership is reflected in our leadership, and we have a unique blend of rural, farms, lake and vacation homes, mountain retreats, and fast-growing cities,” she says. “The only thing we don’t have is beachfront property. We keep active connections with a large delegation of elected officials, and we encourage political action from our members with their local and state elected officials. We are the voice of real estate here.”

Our growth strategy is tied directly to providing our members with the most incredible education, service and tools available.

-Kipp Cooper, RCE, KCRAR and Heartland MLS

Hand arranging wooden toys strategic planning business growth

© Teera Konakan / Moment / Getty Images

Breadth and Scale

The Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS® is one of the fastest-growing local associations in the country in both member count and geographic size, says Kipp Cooper, rce, CEO of the Heartland Multiple Listing Service and KCRAR.

His pitch centers on the fact that, with five mergers over the past five years, KCRAR has grown to include 13,100 members that cover 38 counties along almost the entire border of western Missouri and eastern Kansas. Such a large organization also means a broad range of member services. “Our growth strategy is tied directly to providing our members with the most incredible education, service and tools available,” he says.

Cooper, who joined KCRAR seven years ago, also communicates how the organization handles such a large area using a chapter model and three regional service centers located within an hour’s radius from the main office in Leawood, Kansas. The chapters allow agents to keep “a local identity and commitment to community while enjoying the economies of scale and professional staff that come with belonging to a large organization.”

Cooper began his career as a two-term state legislator in New Hampshire when he was 23, a background that helps when advocating for his association. He also talks to potential members about how the association wholly owns Heartland Multiple Listing Service, a regional MLS with more than 12,500 subscribers, and how Heartland MLS is a founder of MLS Grid, a technology initiative that enables MLSs to work together through common standards, licensing and compliance. Heartland’s most recent investment has been the purchase of the Remine MLS platform with Miami REALTORS®’ MLS and Austin Board of REALTORS®’ ACTRIS MLS, an initiative centered around owning and investing in their own technology and future.

“KCRAR and HMLS are places where our members always come first,” Cooper says as part of his pitch. “We have a staff of highly trained and motivated professionals whose top priority is member service and member success. We do this by being inclusive, innovative and adaptive to the industry and our members’ changing needs. We are excellent stewards to our community and assure that our members are part of an organization that is respected, trusted and advocates for our industry.” 

A Love for the Work

Then there’s the passion piece.

MTAR’s Joyce has been an AE for more than 28 years. “I still love it each day,” she says. “I have a retired real estate license, and that gives me a deeper appreciation for the actions and efforts our members have to put out there every day.”

Cooper says that the CEO position at KCRAR and Heartland MLS “really is my dream job.”

“The ability to work with so many caring and thoughtful volunteer leaders and staff drives me every day to provide them with the very best I can offer,” he says. “We are all very blessed when we can find a job that makes a difference in people’s lives—and for me that calling has been this amazing industry.”

Thomas A. Barstow is a freelance writer and editor based in York, Pa.



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