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Profiles of Success
"If you plant enough seeds, some of them will grow," says Marvin Sommers. Marvin's story is one of hard work, perseverance, and dedication. A self-made man, Marvin started in the real estate business without any contacts or leads. He door-knocked, put in long hours, and built his business from scratch.
Though he admits his success didn't come overnight, the seeds he planted have grown into a garden that has flourished. He is a consistent multi-award-winning agent with an abudance of loyal clients, and is now in the top five percent of realtors in Canada for Royal LePage. "I didn't have a lot of contacts," Marvin says of his humble beginnings. "I had to build my business one client at a time. I jumped in with both feet and worked hard. I kept persevering, and now my business consists of about 90 percent repeat and referred clientele. The best compliment anyone can give me is referring family or friends."
Marvin has built up his clientele in Edmonton and surrounding areas, selling everything from land and condos to high-end executive homes. He even handles a number of investors. "It pleases me to see people's dreams come true, whether it is their dream home, or their starter home, or building up their investment portfolio."After becoming a journeyman electrician, Marvin couldn't ignore his strong entreperneurial spirit and the desire to own his own business. One day, he saw an advertisement for real estate courses. Something clicked. "I always wanted to have my own business. When I took the necessary courses, it reinforced my desire to make it in the real estate industry. I gave myself three months to see if the business was everything I had anticipated it to be, and I've never looked back. I love doing what I do, it doesn't seem like work to me."
Marvin's personality fits many of the qualities necessary to be a successful entrepreneur. He recalls taking a career-planing course that confirmed his true calling. "The course defined where your strengths and weaknesses were. It directs you into what they think you should be doing. It was 98 percent in favour of me running a business or being in a management position."
In addition to exceptional organizational and time-management skills, Marvin is approachable and possesses a personal, dedicated, and fun customer-service approach. "I use common sense, and I treat people the way I would expect to be treated myself." Since he entered real estate in 1987, Marvin has preferred the hands-on approach, and gives clients the personalized service they deserve. "I really want things looked after. I believe in staying on top of every detail. I don't want to get into a situation where my clients aren't happy," he says. Marvin also tries to simplify the whole process so that clients are as stress-free and well informed as possible. "I am very approachable; I try and help people relax and just help them through the process, and it works very well."
In addition to his no-pressure, laid-back yet efficient approach, Marvin also possesses a keen ability to listen to his clients' needs. He believes in maximizing his clients' time, and only shows them homes that match their wishes. "I don't sell them houses, I solve their problems. I listen to what people need and try to find them appropriate houses."
Marvin uses the latest technology to simplify his clients' lives and his own. He uses three websites, including his own personal site, www.marvinsommers.com, which displays all of Marvin's listings with virtual tours, a mortgage calculator, online market evaluations, and direct access to all of the Edmonton area listings, as well as helpful buying and selling tips. To keep up to date with the market, Marvin's home office computer, main office computer, and laptop computer are all updated with the most current real estate software and current real estate updates. "There's so much access to information that you have to be on the breaking edge of technology all the time." He cares so much about listening to his clients' needs that he purchased a leading-edge computer program that can match exact parameters for what clients are looking for.
"When these listings come onto the market, they are emailed to my client within seconds." He recalls a client who was looking for a house for almost a year with different agents. When they contact Marvin, there were only three houses that fit their criteria. "I don't believe in wasting my clients' time by showing them houses that don't fit their needs. Out of the three, they had a difficult time deciding which to buy, as they all matched their needs." He continues, "They had never had anyone sit down with them and find out exactly what they were looking for. I narrow it right down tot he exact parameters. They wanted a specific style, a specific size of master bedroom, a huge lot in a quiet location, and two fireplaces. I found it for them." Another client only wanted a house at a particular address. He got the house at a particular address. He got the house when it came up because the parameters entered into the program were only for that address. "We were in contact two hours after he received the email. We had that deal closed in four hours of it coming on the market. Again, it simplifies my life and my clients' lives."He now does virtual tours of all his properties. "Again, it makes it simple, because people can see the tour at their convenience. It's a win-win for both sellers and purchasers alike."
Marvin also has a network of professional contacts, such as lawyers, inspectors, mortgage specialists, and new home builders, so that he can be a one-stop shop for clients. He is a strong marketer but, unlike many high-profile realtors who spend their marketing money to promote themselves, he prefers to use his marketing dollars for his clients, not to market himself. "I don't have that huge billboard," he says. "I don't have to. Personal promotion is not important to me, but promoting clients' properties is. I'm a low-profile individual. It's worked because that philosophy has built my business." To keep in touch with clients, he sends out a yearly calendar, along with market update newsletters throughout the year.
With such amazing service, it is no wonder that Marvin has many loyal clients who are keen to recommend him to anyone looking to buy or sell a home. "Marvin showed us patience and an understanding, which no other realtor has taken the time to do for us. He understood our needs and concerns, and made everything seem easy," raves one client. From another satisifed customer: "Marvin was great. He was exceedingly helpful and supportive during a very trying time." Another client speaks of Marvin's efficient, well informed, and very courteous. He really found the right house for us, not to mention he sold our other home in 11 days. No complaints!" From another happy client: "Marvin answered all my questions with patience and understanding. I can only say good things about him."
Marvin has worked hard to get to where he is today. And he realizes that a work-life balance is important to maintaining optimal service for his clients. He enjoys spending time with his family, which consists of wife Candace and sons Brian and Bradley. He laughs when he admits that he spends a lot of time at the hockey rink attending his two sons' games. He also enjoys fishing in his spare time.
What does the future hold for Marvin Sommers? He has no plans to slow down, and will continue to provide the first-rate service his clients have come to expect and trust from him. "I am going to be in this business for many years. I have no plans of retirement. My business is expanding every year, and it's almost doubled in the last two to three years. I only expect my business to increase." No matter what the future holds, Marvin will continue to plant the seeds of success, and will achieve and accomplish many goals for years to come.