In the end, it’s all about people. It’s about dreams. It’s about relationships. At least that is what Lori Zurcher of HomeLife Higher Standards would be sure to tell you. And she would know.
A dental hygienist-turned-realtor, Zurcher says she has a new lease on life.
“I used to clean teeth all day, every day in a 6 x 8 cubicle with no windows and a new patient every 45 minutes,” she said. “I wanted to get out and try something vastly different, so I followed my heart and made it happen.”
It’s been about four years since she decided to make the significant career change, a swap she said has been a game changer for her.
“The fun part is meeting people face to face and working with buyers to find their home,” said Zurcher, who has been with HomeLife for just over two years. “We’re out there looking at a house that will be their biggest investment they’re probably ever going to make, so relationships are really what this business is founded on.”
I wanted to get out and try something vastly different, so I followed my heart and made it happen.
Cloud Friday recently had the opportunity to sit down with Zurcher to discuss what she’s learned about being in business and her advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
Cloud Friday: What has been the biggest challenge of your career and how did you overcome it?
Lori Zurcher: I would have to say my biggest challenge has been learning to manage my time. From setting work hours, to staying focused on critical tasks to build my business, yet knowing when to break from routine to answer a client’s question or concern.
CF: What do you most enjoy about your career?
LZ: I enjoy the freedom. With my career I work most weekends, evenings, and holidays because that’s when my clients are available. So my partner and I have learned to take advantage of short lines, minimal traffic, and no hassle scheduling when everyone else is back at work and we vacation and explore the world around us.
CF: Who inspires who, and why?
LZ: My partner, Terry Anderson, is my biggest inspiration. He’s been in the business for 27 years and knows how hard the work is and how rewarding the relationships are. Terry is a fabulous teacher and partner, it would be lonely and confusing without him. His ethics and charm are contagious and his energy for the business endless! He’s always thinking of ways to improve the business, the relationships, and the experience for the clients and us!
CF: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about running a business since you started your real estate career four years ago?
LZ: Do what you are really good at and delegate, hire, or out-source everything else. Not only does it increase productivity, but it makes life so much more fun!
CF: Can you describe a moment or moments when you stopped and realized this is why you are doing what you’re doing with your life?
LZ: We recently listed a house for an elderly widowed woman. We took the time to go through the selling and listing process with her and give her a timeline as well as answer her questions, and we assured her there were no questions too simple to ask. We listened to her requests for limits on showings and the date she wanted to close so that she had time to prepare her move out-of-state. When she called, we answered our phones and if we didn’t know the answers we found out and got back to her in 24 hours or less. We made recommendations to her based on the premise that if she was our mom, what would we like to see her do or who would we trust for her (and this happens in all of our transactions)? When we offer our assistance to someone, like this client, we mean it-we helped her move furniture, baby-sit her kitties, pack her boxes, sit down and eat cookies if that’s what she needed. We took her out to dinner to keep her from working herself to sickness. Part of her testimony stated: If you want an honest, knowledgeable team that works just as hard for you as if they were your special friends, you must choose Lori Zurcher and Terry Anderson.
CF: What advice would you offer to other small business owners?
LZ: Listen to your customers, even if you think you know better, they are telling you what they will come back to you for. Take care of yourself. You can get lost in owning and running and building your business.