Pam Ermen

Read Your Market to Generate More Sales in 2019

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By Mark Mathis, VP of Sales for

Pam Ermen became a real estate agent at age 18 and never looked back. She quickly generated massive sales numbers, which took her into management by the age of 24. She’s the author of two training series on business planning and dynamic team growth. Selected as a Virginia Educator of the Year, Ermen has spent more than 25 years coaching individual agents and teams on how to reach their highest productivity level.

With a lifetime of experience in real estate, Ermen has also learned other extremely valuable skills—how to spot trends and real estate patterns, and how to read markets and real estate futures. She shared her tips, insights, and tricks with agents in a recent webinar.

Current Market Conditions
Where is the market going? Is it slowing down or retracting? According to Ermen, some of the events she sees are very much the same as those that contributed to the 2003 boom and bust market.

“The market may be slowing itself down,” she said. “What we need to do is track what’s happening and understand how to use that information.”

Across the country, there’s been a median sales price increase of 7 percent. That, along with other factors, may be causing the market to slow down. But how should agents determine what the “true story” is regarding the market, and how can they find out if a trend is local, regional or national?

6 Economic Factors Affecting the Market
When trying to understand housing and real estate bubbles, Ermen sat down and dissected the definition of an economic bubble and came up with six economic factors that can help REALTORS® forecast their market. Those factors can be exciting, rather than scary—if you know how to interpret and respond to them, Ermen said.

“Before the technology existed to warn us of hurricanes and approaching weather patterns that could wipe out thousands of homes, there was no way to determine what was coming at you until the storm hit,” she said. “With modern technology, we have enough warning to get our families out of the storm even if we can’t protect our property. Understanding the warning and market patterns is like our current advance storm warnings. If you pay attention to the patterns and the warnings, you can anticipate and prepare for coming financial storms.”

Those advance warnings consist of six economic factors: unemployment; housing affordability; interest rates and mortgage availability; distressed properties and foreclosures; vacancy rates; and home sales supply and demand.

Look at the unemployment rate locally, as well as on a state and federal level. Don’t just ask what the rate is; ask why it is what it is. What you want to do is look at where it was and where it is, and then anticipate where it’s going and why.

As an example, Ermen pointed out that the Navy was talking about moving a carrier from the Norfolk, Va., shipyards, which impacted her local real estate and employment market. The move of one carrier alone would mean a loss of 11,000 jobs and millions in revenue. The move didn’t happen, but years later, there was talk of moving more ships into Norfolk—a boost for employment and income.

Understanding the other five economic factors, as well, can prepare an agent for any changes in their market, long before the effects begin to appear in sales.

Ermen goes into great detail for each of the other factors in the webinar. She also shows agents how and where to find the information that they’ll need to start recognizing patterns.

“There are many free online tools you can use to follow stories, track trends, spot patterns and understand the future of your market,” she said. “Ultimately everything, including news stories about jobs, business, layoffs, and hirings, impacts the real estate market.”

The trick, Ermen said, is in knowing where to go to find the information, and then in learning how to assemble it in such a way that you can forecast the future of your particular market.

Tips and Tools for Tracking Trends

  • Google Alerts – Sign up for Google Alerts to track things like economic trends, jobs, business and topics related to the six factors above. This way you get up-to-date news reports about the trends and patterns as they happen.
  • Media Reports – Read and follow real estate industry news and trend reports. Keeping abreast of what is happening in real estate news is a valuable resource for helping broker/owners and executives understand the constant barrage of changes in their area and across the country, as well as how to be better prepared for the coming year.
  • Economagic – Research and refer to The site gives you the history of your area and helps you learn to how to read patterns.
  • Housing Affordability Index – The Housing Affordability Index is provided and delivered through the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The Index shows how affordable housing is in an area. When the Index begins to rise or drop, you’ve got something to share with your buyers and sellers regarding housing prices.
  •’s “Affordability Calculator” – Find out how much your clients can afford.

Ermen covers more than just the facts and statistics of the housing market; she shares insights from loss aversion experts, and shows agents how to find and motivate clients to sell or buy.

For more information on the other five economic factors impacting your market, and more tips and websites that can help you analyze your market, listen to the webinar: Pam Ermen | Learn How to Read Your Market to Generate More Sales in 2019.

Mark Mathis is vice president of Sales at For more information, please visit

Pam ErmenRead Your Market to Generate More Sales in 2019
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The “Top 5” Growth Traits of a Successful Real Estate Team

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Aaaah Teams…

Creating one can be the best thing that’s ever happened to your business, or the worst! So what factors determine which side of that equation you’ll experience?

Growth Factor #1: First Things First

Hiring people before acquiring systems is the surefire path to failure. Think of it this way, if you hire a team member and can’t plug them into systems, procedures, and lead generation programs, what do you think they’ll plug into? (I just can’t shake this mental picture of a dog with a new litter of hungry puppies!) It’s no wonder that many Top Producers equate Teams with pain, NOT growth.

If you think you’re spread thin now, just wait until you have an Administrative Assistant and/or a Team Associate literally standing at the door, waiting impatiently for you to walk in, and ready to be told what to do next. To make matters worse, their conversation with anyone who will listen to rings of a “this is not what I was expecting” message, and of course, the fact that it’s your fault is also part of their ongoing dialogue. The painful truth is that what they’re saying has validity…you are the one responsible for creating focus, purpose, and cohesiveness within your team, and a “we-they” mentality that develops will surely undermine any chances of that happening.

You must develop a legitimate business plan, policies, procedures, systems, documents, and programs necessary to grow a successful team, in addition to identity and brand that is legitimate enough to attract business, not just capture it. Successful completion of…or at least healthy progress towards completing these goals must occur before your life as a Team Leader actually gets easier. If not don’t, expect it to get harder!

Growth Factor #2: Discover Who You Are

Remember when your Mother used to tell you there’s no one else in the world that’s just like you? It was her maternal attempt to somehow make freckles, braces and baby fat a wonderful part of what makes you unique. Perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch, but tapping into that “conversation with Mom” before you develop a team, could prove invaluable! Creating your Team by duplicating the structure and nature of another team eliminates the buying or selling experience that is unique to you and that contributed to your success in the first place. In addition, why would you want to foster a “commodity” mentality between you and your competition in the minds of the Consumer?

What’s more, long term retention of your team members will have much more to do with being part of a unique and inspiring environment than it will ever have to do with the amount of the commission dollars they earn. Don’t get me wrong, every Team Associate wants to keep the most money possible, but as successful managers and companies understand, there is ALWAYS a better deal somewhere else. Agents stay where they are for reasons than are much great than just money.

Can you clearly define who you are, what you stand for, and why another individual would be excited to be a part of your vision? Do your core values truly drive the course of your business and the overall goals you have for yourself and anyone who associates with you? Is the public aware of the unique and valuable experience they will have when they work with you or one of your team members? Just remember, no team member is attracted to a “secret identity” and neither is the public.

Growth Factor #3: Hire “Right” From the Start

I once asked one of the most successful Team Leaders in the country what he would define as THE most important factor in a successful team. “Hire the right people”, he responded, without hesitation. Seemed simple enough, but as we all know, simple and easy are rarely the same thing. Asked for further insight, he shared how important it was to first clearly define what the traits of a successful Team Member literally looks, feels and acts liked based on your expectations and your type of team.

Let’s assume you’ve cleared the first hurdle by hiring Team Associates with common core values that line up with your vision and business model. Next, there are personality and learning behaviors to consider. Are you a “Thinker” or a “Feeler” when it comes to communicating, and even more importantly, when it comes to handling conflict? Are you “direct” or more “laid back” when interacting with both your Team Associates and your Clients and Customers? “Opposites attract” is rarely a recipe for success when creating a team. Yes it’s possible, and can even be beneficial to have a variety of personalities on a team, but only if the Leader understands personality and behavioral differences and knows how to manage them.

In addition, what kind of Team Associate is best for your particular business model? Perhaps you’re looking for Team Associates who will basically show the property, allowing you as the Team Manager to “close” the sale. That Team Associate’s strengths may differ from those in a different business model where all Associates are expected to take responsibility for the transaction from start to finish. Another type may hire for specific responsibilities, for example, a Listing Specialist who will concentrate all of his or her efforts on the listing side of the transaction only. Whatever your desires, knowing DISC personality profiles and understanding adult based learning types can save a Team Manager loads of frustration by initially hiring the right person for the right seat on the bus.

Growth Factor #4: Develop an “EYE” Team vs. an “I” Team

Ask yourself this question “What is my motivation for developing a team?” If you’ve use the pronoun “I” more than 5 times in the first 60 seconds, save yourself some frustration and forget about the prospects of creating one. A team can be your ticket to a more balanced life, more quality time with the family, and ultimately more income with less labor on your part. But, you can’t get there without first understanding the importance of “We”.

If you have clearly defined who you are and what you stand for, and have hired team members that are excited to be a part of what you’ve created, you’re on your way to creating an “EYE” Team. What is your FOCUS? If you focus on common well defined goals… inspired by the same core values…an “EYE” team possesses the “All for One and One for All” mentality. Each team member recognizes and respects the role of the Team Leader, while the Leader makes decisions and policies that are motivated by what benefits the whole. This is a winning formula for trust and respect between a team’s management and labor force, so to speak, and serves as the firm foundation of any “EYE” Team. Ultimately, this kind of environment leads to a sense of “ownership” on everyone’s part and an intangible sense of group purpose that is greater than each individual and equally as important as a paycheck.

Growth Factor #5: Bring Meat to the Table

Many agents believe that growing a team in the midst of today’s market conditions is for the foolhardy. The opposite is true! The challenges of the real estate marketplace over the last couple of years actually caused highly trained, experienced agents to consider team opportunities who may never have done so when their business and income was more predictable. If you’re thinking like a business owner and entrepreneur, you know that the best of opportunities often present themselves in the toughest of conditions. By nature, most individuals will play it safe in challenging times. But consider the words of one of the most successful businessmen in the world, Warren Buffet, who defined his investment philosophy as “being fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” For a Team Leader, some of the best opportunities in this market may come in the form of high quality, well trained producers who rode the storm of our recent economic challenges and are ready to settle into a more predictable and less stressful experience for the remainder of their career.

Keep in mind, though, these Agents are not only looking for confidence and leadership, but business! Many are still recovering financially after years of inconsistent business due to spheres of influence that didn’t buy or refer as they always had in the past.

A savvy Team Manager who targets a variety of business sources, capitalizing on opportunities driven by current market conditions such as foreclosures, short sales or investors in recent years, positions themselves to “feed the masses”, which is what business planning for a team is all about. Developing a team business plan is a specialized and necessary process that should address exactly what sources you will target, the amount of business you can expect from each source, the portion of business to be shared with each Team Associate, and a master budget that ensures the income goals of ALL team members can be met.


Creating an environment of interdependence among a team of independent salespeople sounds like an impossible feat. If you have already made an effort at growing a team without applying the traits and principles discussed, I’m sure you feel like it is one! Hiring Agents to share the workload does not make a team. A team is really a microcosm of a real estate office, requiring an intentional daily focus on systems, relationships and quality leadership in order to become healthy and productive. If these are lacking, you may as well install a revolving door at the entrance of your office or allot plenty of time for renegotiating splits with your Team Associates in order to keep them. If you’re willing to put that same time into understanding the Top 5 Growth Traits of a Successful Team, new levels of success and profitability can be just a few new team members away!

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Real Estate Teams – Manage to the Momentum

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My coaching and training responsibilities allow me the opportunity to interact with a variety of mega agents around the country.  I make sure to ask as many as possible for their success secrets…those power-packed truths that truly make a difference in their business.  When speaking to one of my industry favorites, Team Leader Greg Chaplain in Hampton Roads, Virginia, his response came with lightning speed: “That’s easy! We’re never in the quarter we’re in. We’re physically in this quarter and ALWAYS mentally in the next!”

Folklore quotes Einstein as saying: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.”  I think that sums it up for Greg, he KNOWS success and the formula to deliver it consistently. Just that simple truth, offering clarity of purpose and direction, has delivered a mega level of production for himself and everyone he mentors YEAR AFTER YEAR.

Greg continued sharing his wisdom by formulating the image of a surfer physically positioned on the top of one wave but mentally focused on the wave that was approaching.  I could see him sizing up the incoming opportunity for the best results possible … positioning himself to be prepared for it when it arrives … and doing all that was necessary to be ready when it did.

I’ve boiled it down to this … Manage to the Momentum.

 Yes, we must ensure that today’s opportunities and clients experience the best we can deliver.  Our ultimate goal is not to be wiped out by today’s groundswell while we are “staring” towards the future!  This concept of business requires a presence of mind and focus impossible to accomplish in the “auto-pilot” position.  Your first goal? Be intensely present and develop a mindful form of competence that cares for the business at hand while doing all that’s necessary to position yourself for future opportunities. And be assured, the opportunities are coming! Markets across the country are already spiking weeks before their “normal” spring market.   Decide NOW to prepare for what’s incoming and what must be done today to be prepared for tomorrow or risk missing it altogether.  And nobody wants to see their competitor shoot past them on the crest of the wave they missed.

The Hot Leads List

Here’s a practical application of this “momentum truth” that should be part of any team or agent’s business plan. It’s a non-negotiable item for me when building business plans for clients.  I encourage each team leader to maintain a “Hot Leads List”, regardless of which sophisticated lead management system they may be using. This list projects the 30, 60, and 90-day times frames for any solid buyer or seller to be under contract. If the lead management system allows for this modification or subreport, do it today! Existing listings should always be on this list as no one earns anything until the listing sells. Large listing inventories with projected UC dates past 90 days can turn listings into a substantial distraction and emotional drain rather than a major opportunity and may indicate a weakness in the agent’s pricing ability.

Yes, price and markets can change that norm, but you get the gist of the application.  Requiring every team member to assess their business leads on an individual basis gives a Team Leader a quick litmus test to measure just how healthy the approaching wave of business is, both for each individual team associate and the team as a whole.  It’s SO easy for any team to get lost in a sea of leads and develop a false sense of security that the NUMBER of leads indicates the quality and quantity of approaching business.  In my last revision of this particular report, I changed the first column to allow for the date of entry.  As a Team Leader, wouldn’t you like to see when the last date a team associate created a Hot Lead? Is a lead so solid that they expect to have them under contract in the next 30-60-90 days? Isn’t that a much better metric for measuring and projecting their success than how many leads you pushed their way or how many they chose to “cherry-pick” or reject?

“Fire one to save two.” 

This can also allow you to separate your solid agents from the impostors.  If every team member is provided the same opportunities and benefits from the same lead sources, wouldn’t it be quickly obvious that one agent tends to work and convert leads much quicker than the rest?  One of my favorite management mentors always told me …“Fire one to save two.”  In other words, the performance of others can easily be used to set standards and expectations for the rest of your team, whether that is for good or bad depends on you!

So … turn off the “auto-pilot” button and become mindfully present of the next surge of business coming your way. Be physically in this quarter and mentally in the next, then replicate the process over and over. This can be one of your most effective business strategies in 2020 and eliminate the kind of crisis management mode that occurs when we fail to manage to the momentum!

Pam ErmenReal Estate Teams – Manage to the Momentum
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