SUDBURY-MANITOULIN—There is no mistaking the emotion in Leanne Lewis’ voice as she recounts the moment she learned that she had received the Royal LePage Chairman’s Club Award as one of the top one percent of Royal LePage agents nationally.
“I had no idea,” she said. “When I heard the news I literally teared up. I still get misty when I think of it.”
There are 18,000 Royal LePage agents nationwide in Canada, so being in the top one percent is quite a coup for any agent.
“I knew I was putting a lot into it, I am in the perfect time of my life, my kids are grown and I am able to dedicate everything to the job,” she said, “but it still came as a shock.”
Ms. Lewis credited her first broker for laying the groundwork for her success.
“Bruno Gobeil brought me in, convinced me to become a real estate agent and then gave me my pre-agent training before I even got going,” she said. One of his most important pieces of advice was to always respond to a client’s call within five minutes. “With cellphones and modern technology there is no reason not to respond,” she said. “I have my phone on me at all times. Bruno said that if you don’t respond within five minutes you are going to lose the client.”
Ms. Lewis also credits her success to her extensive Island connections across a wide range of residents.
“Often the people who are listing their properties have lived on that property all their lives,” she said. “It can be tough. You have to be supportive to that.”
Another piece of advice is to do something in real estate every single day. “Always do something every day in the name of real estate,” she said. “Even when I am taking the day off on a Sunday, it doesn’t have to be something big. You can spend five minutes to do something.”
Excelling in the real estate market has become very intense and nothing can be taken for granted. “You can sell your property online yourself these days,” she noted. “There are sites online that you can access to list your property. You really have to bring something to the table as an agent.”
That value-added approach means you have to deliver for your clients.
“You have to think outside of the box,” she said.
In the current market the percentage of off-Island buyers is extremely high, notes the ace salesperson, estimating that percentage at around 80 percent. “But if you are buying on the Island, I truly believe that you should use a local lawyer,” she said, noting that familiarity with the potential quirks of the Island might not be caught by legal advisors operating from farther remove. Much of her success in closing sales she credits directly to the Island market.
She notes that with Island properties local knowledge can play a critical role. “I know where people are from, know the neighbours, know a lot of the history,” she said.
The Chairman’s Award designation has been very good for business, Ms. Lewis said. “I have been getting referrals from the Ottawa area,” she said.
Although she now divides her time between her Island home and Sudbury, Ms. Lewis intends to one day set up her own brokerage on the Island.
“I want to eventually move back full time,” she said. “Right now I spend five days a week on the Island and two in Sudbury in the summertime and five days a week in Sudbury and two on the Island in the wintertime.”
Until then, she will remain with a foot in both worlds.