30 Under 30 Honorees of 2003

Pick another year

Toni Mikel
Salesperson
Portland’s Alternative, REALTORS®
Bluebird Real Estate,
2245 SE Brooklyn Street
Portland, OR
United States
97202
US
Age: 
27
Individual volume: 
$7.8 million
Individual sides: 
48

“Be yourself. That helps people relax and feel they can safely express themselves during the transaction.”

What makes her special: In a world dominated by in-your-face marketing, Mikel is positively counterculture. “I don’t market to my sphere of influence,” she says, ignoring a century of standard sales advice. Yet in her first full year of sales, she racked up a healthy $7.8 million in volume and 48 transaction sides.

Come sit on her couch: Mikel, who joined Portland’s Alternative after growing disillusioned at one of the major real estate franchises, sounds more like a therapist than a salesperson. “People come in with a problem they want solved, and my job is to help them succeed,” she says. “If I don’t feel we have similar goals or a certain level of trust, I discourage the relationship.”

So just where does her business come from? “I don’t want to be perceived as the kind of person who hands out his or her business card at parties.” In fact, Portland’s Alternative does the marketing for its salespeople, attracting a lot of first-time buyers timid about going to a big real estate company.