There is no substitute for learning more about your profession from someone at the top who has gone through ups and downs over time. That is the premise for "Confessions of a Land Pro", a series of video blogs by the Future Leaders Committee of the RLI. In a recent episode, longtime real estate agent Randy Hertz, ALC, shared a wealth of ideas and tips with RLI colleague Eric Zellers of Ary Land Co. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hertz, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, heads Hertz Real Real estate services in Nevada, Iowa. His company manages 600,000 acres of farmland and, on average, makes more than one farm sale per day.
- Learn the language of your customers and prospects about the specifics of their farms, ranches, and other properties.
- Communicate and understand the emotional complexities of farm and land deals. "The families we work with are not always functional," says Hertz. “When brothers and sisters are involved in their parents' country, they do not always agree. Sometimes we have to be the glue that helps them navigate the process. And we have to keep the lines of communication open. "
- Use videos wisely. Hertz works with 34 commercial drone pilots to get a bird's eye view of the properties its company manages and sells and recently hired a full-time video editor.
- Leverage technologies ranging from topographic lidar tools that can identify a property to the centimeter, to other GPS and map tools, online auctions, and 360-degree land tours. Try to optimize your business and serve customers better through technological advances.
- Relationship building
- Keep an ear to the ground by staying in touch with customers and prospects before and after a sale. Hertz has a database of more than 65,000 farmland owners and regularly sends out newsletters and check-ins. "We keep a dialogue open because you never know when a life change will occur and when they might need us," says Hertz.
- Connect with aspiring land buyers. “About half of the farm owners are 70 years or older. There are some big changes ahead as land is passed on to the next generations. "
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Finally be ready to change not just a life but the life of a family for years to come. In one case, Hertz's company helped a widow properly evaluate the farm she was about to sell. The result was an increase from $ 1,500 to $ 3,000 per acre – a difference that allowed her to create a more significant financial legacy for herself and her loved ones.