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Exclusive book excerpt
Why You Should Make a Portfolio

Whether your new to real estate or a seasoned veteran, a portfolio of your professional accomplishments builds trust and confidence in buyers and sellers.

BY CARLA CROSS, CRB

Experienced agents have a track record of success. They can tell buyers and sellers about how they listed properties that sold, how they sold 50 homes the prior year, and so on. Because you’re new, you don’t have that track record.

Can you compete? Yes. How? By showing the prospective buyer your lifelong successes, talents, skills, and values.

What is a professional portfolio? It’s a pictorial of you, your background, your skills, your hobbies, and your talents, with letters of recommendation from those who know and trust you. It’s like a movie of you! Only it’s not expensive to produce like a movie.

Why a Portfolio Works

As a new agent, I had no successes to talk about. I hadn’t even been in a field closely related to real estate! So, what did I have? At first, I didn’t feel I had anything to offer. But as I thought about it, I realized I had taken with me into real estate my lifelong achievements.

What I knew about myself was that I had to have been dutiful, responsible, and accountable to have practiced piano regularly all through college and held a job requiring 12 hours of work a week while still finding time to study. I knew I could handle several things at once — a skill certainly required in real estate. Also, I knew I had become a pretty good negotiator from having to negotiate fees for music jobs.

What I needed to do was to demonstrate those same skills to my friends in a new business. That’s how I came up with the idea of the portfolio.

What a Portfolio Looks Like

Picture a top-of-the-line three-ring binder. Inside, you’ll have stationery dividers — title pages that introduce you.

Inside each of those sections, you’ll include pictures, letters, diplomas, testimonials — the list is almost endless of the evidence you can use to show people who don’t know you and what you bring to real estate that benefits them.

Cost: less than $20 per portfolio. Value: invaluable!

How to Create Your Portfolio Contents

First, divide a page into three columns. In one column, list your skills. In the second column, list all the benefits you bring to buyers and sellers. And in the third column, list evidence of your skills — including the names of references who have written letters to support you.

To fill each column, ask yourself, “What skills do I bring from my former career, business, avocation, etc.? What are the benefits of these skills to buyers and sellers? How can I show it?”

After you’ve brainstormed this information, start throwing all kinds of evidence in folders with your divider page names. The evidence should include pictures, letters, diplomas, testimonials, and other proof of your success. Compile this information neatly into your binder, and keep adding to it as your real estate success grows.

How to Use the Portfolio

Make several duplicate portfolios, because you’re going to need them. You’ll be so busy! Use them in these situations:
  • Open houses. Have one open on the counter
  • Pre–first visit buyer package. Iinclude it, and pick it up when you do your qualifying and presentation
  • Pre–first visit seller package. Include it, and pick it up when you do your qualifying and presentation

Boost Your Confidence

Sometimes we need to be reminded of our value. That’s the time to read your own portfolio. It raises our self-confidence and fights those negative feelings we get when we are rejected time after time.

It forms the basis for other promotional pieces, like brochures. It gives you a wealth of information from which to draw your marketing strategies. It absolutely allows you to compete with the “big guys” successfully.



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Up and Running in 30 Days: A Proven Plan for Financial Success in Real Estate (3rd Ed.), is published by Dearborn Real Estate Education. The book aims to provide a start-up business plan that will help new real estate practitioners get up and running in 30 days.