Chris Smith, one of the real estate industry’s most well-known characters, has decided to put the sales brakes on his full-service real estate digital marketing startup Curaytor he and partner Jimmy Mackin launched in January to focus on the firm’s existing 65 customers.
Smith, who runs a weekly hour-long real estate marketing video Web cast with Mackin called #WaterCooler, thinks it’s something more vendors, and startups, should consider — slow growth and focus on customer service.
Of course, the decision was helped by circumstance. Last Thursday, Smith glanced at his calendar for the rest of the year last week and saw 75 demos scheduled.
That’s when he decided to call Mackin and suggest something that might be counter-intuitive for a startup — stop adding new customers.
Since they had already exceeded their 60-customer goal for the year, Smith and Mackin, who started taking customers in April, agreed to stop adding new customers until the beginning of next year to double down on servicing their existing client base.
Smith is betting the change-up will generate more customers in the long run. In the mean time, the firm will provide existing users with better coaching through a private Facebook Group and sharper content marketing items as it builds out the infrastructure to handle more customers next year.
It’s also a savvy PR move.
Shutting down the firm’s sales and marketing for the rest of the year to focus on customers and broadcasting the decision was a big marketing play in itself that Smith thinks will build demand in the intervening months and kick sales off in the new year.
“Word of mouth is so powerful,” Smith said, “we’ll generate more revenue in the long run.”
Not only that, but the pause will allow the firm to hone its offerings.
When Curaytor launched in January, it was positioned as a social media search engine. The next day, Facebook launched its own search tool, Graph Search.
As PandoDaily’s Richard Nieva put it, “”Mark Zuckerberg dropped a massive bomb on Smith.”
A few months later, Curaytor bounced back with an all-in-one website and inbound marketing service for top-producing agents and small teams, Curaytor Inbound.
Today, Smith said, “Coaching is the biggest thing we do.”
“It’s a new world,” he said. “Realtors need help with the (stuff) they buy.”
And since Curaytor is a marketing-focused firm and social media has turned branding and lead-generation into a real-time endeavor, Smith said it’s necessary for the firm to get into the weeds with clients to really help them.
Smith, who also works as a pitchman for digital transaction management firm dotloop and a national real estate speaker, is currently writing a Kickstarter-funded book with dotloop’s CEO Austin Allison about working in the social media, customer-centric age. He said marketing pop star Gary Vaynerchuk has signed on to write the book’s forward.