- Start your business with the end in mind. Think “scale” in the beginning before it becomes nearly impossible to actually scale.
- Rethink what personal contact is, and isn’t, and leverage it to build your real estate business.
- Get out of a fixed mindset and jump into a growth mindset. There are better ways to lead generate, despite what our industry is focused on teaching.
OK, you guys, I wrote this training article for you because I read something in a Facebook group that triggered this soapbox. I’ve given you very solid, tangible, takeaways that you can implement immediately, but I also know that you need to know why I’ve done this. So hold on to something — ’cause here I go.
In one of the plethora of Facebook groups that are popular with real estate agents, someone recently said (and I quote) “It takes about 300 calls per day to get a listing, but if you don’t do that you get no listings. In any case, the personal contact always is the best way to go.”
I’ll have to admit, no matter how many times I hear agents talk like this, no matter how many times I see this kind of arrogance, no matter how many times I listen to this fixed mindset — I still feel shocked.
Shocked that someone actually believes what is coming out of their mouth. Shocked that someone is spouting out this nonsense expecting others to adhere to it and yet, doesn’t adhere to it themselves (because let’s face it, this kind of advice always comes from agents who don’t have enough transactions under their belt to substantiate their belief, mindset or advice).
I just have to shake my head when real estate agents start spouting this nonsense. Nonsense they act like is the only way to build your real estate business — the one way to get listings.
And the crazy part is, they fiercely protect this fixed mindset. Fiercely! They insist there is no other way to do it.
The kicker: They say these things as absolutes. Absolutely stating that it absolutely always works. That it’s absolutely the only way. They’ve created boxed-in ideas about how to get listings and what personal contact is.
Forget cold-calling; build personal relationships
The irony in this is that they think cold-calling is personal contact and that it builds know, like and trust relationships.
Let’s face it. They are delusional.
This mindset is dangerous. It’s dangerous because its singular goal is to make sure that no one else transcends beyond them, that no one else does something better, in a new way, in a more effective way. It’s so hardcore, and its influence so strong, that our entire real estate industry is affected by it.
This mindset shows people that we are the smarmy salespeople with crappy reputations that they already mostly believe. Come on, a cold call is a personal contact? Cold calling is the only way to get listings?
I’ve never made a cold call in my life, and guess what — I’ve taken my unfair share of listings.
The thing about this mindset is that it’s not scalable (purposefully not scalable), and it’s simply not true. You only have so much time, and you have to trade time for each phone call. If you do 300 phone calls a week, that means you would potentially take 52 listings per year.
Unless you can invent more time, you’ll be stuck at taking 52 listings each year. You won’t ever grow beyond that.
And what are you going to do? Just go through the phone book making phone calls? Really? How are you going to reach the households that haven’t had a landline in more than 15 years?
We haven’t had a landline in 15 years, and most of our circle of friends hasn’t, either. And we are in that group of buyers and sellers that most people want. The move-up-to-their-largest-home group. The group that has both a sell and a buy — at a price point that is statistically double and triple the area average home price.
Are you willing to build your business on a fixed mindset that not only is a ridiculous one but is also quickly disappearing in its ability to be used?
Build a scalable business
Yes, I know real estate agents that do this. But they never reach leverage. They never build upon previous actions they take. When they are calling 300 new people every single week, even if they repeat through their lists every quarter, they aren’t actually building any relationships.
Their one sole focus is: Are you ready to sell? That’s it. They have no connection with the prospects for any other reasons. And, the prospects have zero connection with them, which means zero loyalty — which means they’ve still got to convert the prospect over and over again. During each phone call, at each appointment, the prospect has zero reasons to trust them.
This means that every single month they start back at zero. They aren’t looking for stages of the homeownership journey; they are looking for the close. That’s it. That’s an awful lot of work that never ends.
Why on earth would you get into real estate with the potential freedom, flexibility and awesome financial future to treat it like a non-renewable resource? This isn’t building a business; it’s being controlled by the business.
If you aren’t thinking scale now, when you first begin, you’ll struggle with scaling in the future. Seriously — most agents just think “Oh, I’ll hire someone from overseas as a virtual assistant to call all my leads and help me cherry-pick the ones most likely to take action right now.”
Seriously? Don’t get caught up in the idea of using dialer services (or outsourcing to an overseas VA). You’ve still got to trade time for the phone calls, and it’s still focused on closing the immediate deal rather than on helping consumers through the journey and subsequently closing multiple deals.
I’d be willing to bet that the number of people who are turned off by the dialer services and broken English cold calls are infinitely more than the number of people who agree to an in-person appointment.
Again, a smarmy salesperson shines brightly in this case. Really? You care so little about the people you want to work with that you’ll toss aside any opportunity to build a tribe of people who are wild and crazy about you, just so that you can forever cold call. Forever? You will never truly scale this.
Let’s talk about that for a minute. When I say “scale” I don’t mean “just acquire more random leads and hire VAs to help convert them.” That is one type of scaling, not a particularly efficient type, but it’s still one type of scaling. And really, it’s not scaling because you have to have a VA for every X amount of leads that come in.
Which means the more leads you have, the more VAs you have. And the more VAs you have, the more people you have to manage or pay others to manage. In other words, having more people does not equal scale; it just equals more people (and more money spent).
Don’t focus on vanity metrics — you know, the whole “my team is 24 people” bragaliciousness that we love to spout. If you can do double, triple, quadruple the business with a team one-quarter of the size and not be stressed and still have a lovely life, why would you focus on vanity metrics?
When I’m talking scale, I’m talking about the ability to scale your income producing time and efforts that create and build know, like and trust relationships. Wouldn’t you rather bring on more buyer agents because every other phone call is a buyer that is ready and determined to work with you or your team?
Wouldn’t you rather bring on a listing coordinator (or three) because every other phone call is a seller who is asking you to come out and list their home? It would save you the time of multiple prospective listing appointments.
I know that I’d much rather outsource paperwork, signs, lockboxes, photography, etc., than outsource building relationships. And I also know that relationships are easily scalable, meaning, it’s just as easy and takes just as much time to create and build one relationship as it does to create and build 1,000 relationships when you know what you are doing.
It’s just as easy and takes just as much time to create and build one relationship as it does to create and build 1,000 relationships.
4 ways to create know, like and trust relationships
Guess what? Personal contact doesn’t just happen in face-to-face or phone-to-phone situations. In fact, personal contact happens in all mediums including:
Sending a real email, not the canned garbage we as real estate agents cling to so we don’t actually have to talk to anyone. Not the canned garbage we use just to get the requisite number of touches in because, after all, a touch is all that’s needed, right? No!
You need to have a conversation. Again I say, stop touching your list and start having conversations with them.
Yes, you can scale this! Use an email marketing software, and have a conversation with your list at least once every week. Twice a week is even better. And yes, these numbers are based on actual scientific evidence of billions of emails.
Yes, you can schedule these conversations. You don’t have to be sitting down at the computer every single week writing these emails, but you must be the one having the conversation. You can not outsource relationship building. Don’t mix it up touches with building relationships.
2. Blog posts
Blog posts work well to create and build know, like and trust relationships. They are beautiful when it comes to creating a relationship in which the prospect simply connects with you and is ready to list their home. They already know you. They already trust you.
However, putting up ghost-written, canned garbage isn’t going to help you. Not one bit. The consumer knows it’s ghost-written, canned garbage. They aren’t stupid. They know it’s monotone. They know it isn’t your voice. They know you aren’t having a conversation.
This is where we fail when it comes to blogging. We focus on keywords and SEO traffic, and that’s it. Flip that around and focus solely on solving the problems and giving value to your prospects.
You’ll build relationships and convert leads. You’ll also start driving the right, high-value traffic as opposed to every Tom, Dick or Harry doing searches for events in your area.
Yup, video. With the advent of live streaming on just about every major social media channel and people who are flocking to watch live streams, you have got to be doing video in some fashion. Live streaming makes it insanely easy.
But (there is always a but with me, isn’t there?), the thing is, it’s not about live streaming your open houses (though you can), and it’s not about live streaming marketing stats (though you can).
It’s about being available and authentic — a bit raw, in fact. It’s about getting on and solving problems for people — for your prospects. When you start showing your expertise, you become the expert. And most importantly, you become trusted, approachable and relied upon.
When you stop pitching you, your services and your listings and start helping, your results will be dramatic. Your tribe will become unstoppable.
And guess what the best part of all of this is? Each of these three things is repurposed. What do I mean?
Start with video. Do a live stream on a topic that is close to your prospects’ heart. Help them. Dive deep with them. Give them the answers and resources they need to overcome the obstacle.
Then, run that live stream replay as a Facebook ad to your page fans (remember, your page likes must be highly targeted, none of this ridiculous ask-everyone-on-planet-earth behavior that we tend to dwell on in our industry).
Then, get that live stream transcribed. Use a source such as SpeechPad.com to transcribe it. And then, edit that transcription and set it up as a written blog post and go deeper on what you might have missed in the live stream.
Then, talk to your list via email and share the topic with them. Drive them to your blog post (where, of course, you are pixeling that traffic so you can later run Facebook ads to them) where you help them in the blog post and offer a “content upgrade” that allows them to download a checklist, template or something that congruent with what you just helped them with.
Then, run a Facebook ad to everyone who visited your blog post and share the live stream with them so they can get more information, via a different medium, on the topic.
Then, run Facebook ads to cold (but highly targeted) traffic driving them to that valuable blog post, where everything is repeated.
And, for an added boost, upload that Facebook live stream to YouTube and optimize it, so you drive traffic back to the epic blog post you created for them.
So in essence, while you are creating the content, you are simultaneously leveraging the content. When you do the live stream first, you set the ball into motion.
One more crucial note
Your lead generation foundation on Facebook must be built, and built well. This means that your Facebook page likes must be highly targeted page likes — they can not be colleagues from around the country. They must be people in your area who are most likely to use your services, which means you have to build a solid Facebook page like tribe before you can truly leverage this.
Why? Because your Facebook live streams are pushed out to your page likes and bring them in to connect with you while you are live.
And, you must be continuously building that tribe. In other words, the first, most important Facebook ad you should be running — and never stopping — is your page-like audience ad. However, you don’t want to run Facebook page like ads until your page is set up for leverage.
Christina Ethridge is the founder of LeadsAndLeverage.com, helping real estate agents capture, convert, and close Facebook leads.