When recent storms grounded all flights between Evansville, Ind., and Chicago, Kristina Rhodes was undaunted. After a quick call to her editor (me), she left the airport, jumped in her car, and drove 294 miles to get to our office in time for her stint as guest editor for this issue. It’s all in a day’s work for Rhodes who, frankly, excels at keeping promises.
The busy agent with F.C. Tucker Emge was happy to report that she’ll close more than 60 transactions this year. But Rhodes really lit up when talking about the kids who get the lion’s share of her attention between closings. She’s been a Make-A-Wish volunteer for the past 15 years, helping to grant wishes for about 100 seriously ill children in her southern Indiana region so far. She’s made it possible for one girl to meet President Obama and a boy to meet the pope. “Wishes usually fall into one of four categories: ‘I want to go,’ ‘I want to be,’ ‘I want to do,’ or ‘I want to meet,’ but we’re starting to see kids who say, ‘I want to give.’ It’s so amazing,” Rhodes says. “We’re helping a girl give soup and blankets to the homeless. These kids inspire me.”
Just like Rhodes inspires us. REALTOR® Magazine named her a Good Neighbor Award winner in 2013 for her dedication to the children. So Rhodes was a perfect candidate to weigh in on our current issue featuring profiles of this year’s honorees. “I love being part of the Good Neighbor Society,” she says. “We all keep communicating and helping each other with fundraising ideas.”
The passion she has for organizing fundraisers, which have netted some $750,000 since she got involved, and her outreach activities carry into her business relationships as well. “There’s a lot of overlap in my two networks,” she says, noting her pride in working for a brokerage that encourages community service. “Our broker-owners call it ‘paying our civic rent.’ ” She’s recruited Make-A-Wish volunteers from her client base and helped Make-A-Wish families find new homes.
Rhodes’s efficiency gets a boost from her CRM tool: Buffini’s Referral Maker. To meet her income goal, she must make five phone calls a day. Her database of 250 clients and prospects includes 18 people who are responsible for 90 percent of her business, she says. “Our team doesn’t do advertising, or target marketing, or blind mailings,” she says. “We invest our time in clients who love us.”
If Rhodes’s natural empathy helps her build a loyal clientele, it doesn’t overcome all challenges. “I’ll never forget the time my buyer and I found the seller hiding in a closet,” she says, regarding our piece about working with clients who are averse to leaving home during showings. “Some people just can’t accept that the house is no longer theirs when it goes on the market.” The scene startled everyone, but Rhodes kept her cool. “It’s best to be firm but nice,” she says. What else would you expect from a Good Neighbor?