Podcast Episode #33 – Where I Coach Michelle Poirier

“20 Minutes of Successful Niche Secrets – EPISODE 33”,

Where I coach Michelle Poirier on choosing a Niche Market


“20 Minutes of Successful Niche Secrets – EPISODE 33,”

Where I coach Michelle Poirier on choosing a Niche Market

Glenn: Hi! It’s Glenn McQueenie, and welcome to my 25-Minute Success Series Podcast. On each one of these podcasts, what we’re trying to do is really talk to individual agents and explore what’s going on in their business right now (where they are today), and where they’re going. The whole goal of these podcasts is just, within 25 minutes, we’re going to figure this whole thing out, and then give them a great 12-month blueprint to follow. So today, my special guest is Michelle Poirier from Royal LePage Terrequity Realty in downtown Toronto. So how are you doing today, Michelle?

Michelle: Hi, Glenn! I’m great. Thanks for having me on your podcast.

Glenn: Well thank you for joining me. I’m really interested in exploring where we’re going to go with this call today. So just for people listening, can you give them a little bit of a background of how you got into real estate, how long you’ve been in it, where you are now, and where you’d like your business to go?

Michelle: Sure. My background is business management. For many years, I was a manager in a theatrical company downtown, and in my job, my responsibilities were handling the day-to-day operations, the marketing, the accounting, and the people. I did that for a long time, and when it was time to move on, real estate was on the list of things I would like to do. After a lot of consideration, I decided to take a chance on it. I was always concerned, because I’m not what you would call an A-Type personality. I was really terrified about being able to approach people and do the prospecting side of the business. So that has been one of my biggest challenges. I started real estate about three years ago. I’m just coming to the end of my third year, and I’m starting to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. The first two years were a lot of trial and error, and it’s really hard to get motivated when you don’t know if what you’re doing is the right thing. Handling customers – no problem. Learning the market – no problem. But keeping a steady stream of clients is really the hardest thing, I guess for anyone in this industry, especially when you’re starting out, so I’m always looking for new ways.

Glenn: I couldn’t agree more. It’s so interesting how the licensing programs are all more about, “protect your Broker, stay out of jail, keep yourself out of trouble” and there’s very little effort ever put into the salesmanship of it, or just really understanding human behaviour.

Michelle: Yeah.

Glenn: Or, more importantly, the marketing side of it. “Okay, now I’ve got my license. I really like working with people. I really love real estate. But now what do I do?” Right?

Michelle: Right. It’s very intimidating, I think. Unless you’re just a really natural, got the “gift of the gab” type of person, I think it’s a little harder to break in. Once I have a client, I’m very confident with taking care of my client and helping them buy or sell or whatever it is they’re trying to do. It’s just getting to the point where you have somebody that’s going to listen to you and give you a chance.

Glenn: So would you think it’s more the lead generation side? Or you’ve got enough people, it’s just converting them to work with you? What would you think, if you had to guess?

Michelle: I think it’s about 50/50 for me. I would say I was a little lazy on the social side, but that has changed. I have changed a lot of my habits. I make time to socialize more (not just socializing, but networking). I use Meetup.com quite a bit. I find it’s very useful to meet people with similar interests. Through Meetup.com, it takes a bit of time to build up those relationships, but that is a very useful tool I think. When it comes to regular lead generation, I find that either I’m not getting great leads, or I’m not able to convert them, possibly because they’re just all over the place.

Glenn: Right.

Michelle: I don’t know who these people are, or we don’t have enough of a connection. So that’s tough. That part is, I guess, the hardest part – converting a stranger over the telephone.

Glenn: Well it’s pretty hard, right? We’re born, I think, to almost have an immediate closed mind when people are talking to us or trying to sell us something. We’ve got that born skepticism. Some people trust others really easily, and other people, it takes a little while to build that up.

Michelle: Yeah, and I’m a skeptic. I’ve always been a skeptic, so I’m already in that mindset, thinking, “Oh, they don’t want to talk to me.” So that’s the other part. Do you know what I mean?

Glenn: Yeah, I totally understand it. I think what we have to do is blow up the traditional model of lead generation and prospecting for real estate agents. It flat out doesn’t work. I know it doesn’t work, because if you look at the distribution of transactions among the 49,000 members of the Toronto Real Estate Board, we have 13,000 that did not do one sale last year. We have another 13,000 that did one. And then we’ve got another, I think the grand total is something like 87% or 88% of the agents do less than six transactions total, which is basically not enough to survive in Toronto. And we’re finding this kind of push more to where larger teams are getting their unfair share of the market, because they’re actually segmenting their teams into a bunch of specialists. And that’s what the consumer wants right now. The consumers don’t want the general information that they can Google. They’re looking for more value-added information that they can’t find online. So part of determining your niche market is really more about just finding out who you are. More importantly – you reverse engineer it. If we look back on your five favourite transactions, what are some of the characteristics of those people that you admired that made it fun to work with them?

Michelle: I think obviously they’re similar to me in some way. They have similar values. I’ve had really good rapport with them. There’s just a connection – similar personality, or just a similar way of communicating. People like me! People that are in the same stage of life, similar age group. I find that in the reviews I get, I get similar comments that I’m very empathetic, or I’m very positive. I feel like I’m a problem-solver, so I love to help people that are going through something, like downsizing, or maybe they’re going through a tough time. They’re going through a divorce, or they’re in a difficult situation where they have a challenge, and they need someone who’s really going to help them through it. It gives me a sense of purpose that I’m really helping them. It goes beyond, “I’m just selling a house, or buying a house.” There’s more of a personal connection. And, of course, getting them a good deal on either side – that’s also very satisfying, because the challenge makes it great. Just being able to accomplish that makes you feel great.

Glenn: So we have to find more people with problems for you to solve in a very patient, methodical, logical, supportive way. Right? Do you agree?

Michelle: Yeah. I have a million patience. The other type of client I love are picky people that know exactly what they want, because they answer all your questions. There’s no wasting time. They know exactly what they want, so they need somebody that’s like me who has a lot of patience. It just simplifies the process to me.

Glenn: So people who know what they want.

Michelle: Yeah. They’re hard to satisfy, but it gives me a clear picture and a clear mandate, so I guess it runs with me. I have a lot of patience. That’s one of my strengths, and when I connect with someone who uses my abilities, they appreciate me. That seems to be what’s working the best for me. And also, from an age point of view, I’m middle-aged, so all those things sort of happen in that age group more so than first-time buyers. I can relate to them, so that works for me.

Glenn: So it sounds like what you’re really looking for is you, right? Are you a bit picky, maybe?

Michelle: Yes. Yeah, I’m very picky.

Glenn: Okay. It’s so interesting that the people we work with the most are really the people who have the same mindsets as us and same standards and same values, and they’re similar to us. It’s no different than who your friends are. I’m not saying all your friends are picky, problem-solver people, because you actually have a lot of complementary, different-skilled friends. But if you think about it, you’re really in the mindset-attracting business. What you’re looking for is, “Here are seven or eight key mindsets that I want in those people. If I can market it and lead generate it in such a way that I would attract their attention of those characteristics, then I’m going to get more leads of those type of people into my business, and I don’t have to deal with all the other types of people.” It’s interesting – you talked about how you’re not the A Type Personality. Those A Type Personalities irritate and really repel a lot of people, too. They’re go-getters – bull in a china store kind of people. And some people love that. You know the people who like those type of people?

Michelle: Uh-huh. They don’t like me.

Glenn: People just like them. That’s right! So let’s forget about them. See, that’s the beautiful thing. When I wrote that book, the whole idea of the book was: just be you. It’s right on the cover. It says, “Just be you and bring your natural strengths to a target market of people you want to serve.” So right now, we’re looking for picky people who have a problem they need to solve in a very patient way. That becomes our target market. What we need to create is the technology or lead generation system that would be the magnet, or the bait, almost, to attract just those type of people. It’s almost like if you’re fishing. Fishermen (or fisherwomen) use different types of lures for different types of fish. This industry somehow thinks lately we use all the same stuff. They’ll send out free evaluation cards, free CMAs because they’re trying to hit as many people as possible, and they end up hitting no one.

Michelle: Right.

Glenn: I know that some of the most successful agents I know are actually not High D closers. They’re actually people who have built these massive repeat and referral businesses, because they don’t just treat someone as a transaction. They build a really deep relationship with them. And then you see other people who will build it, but they’ll build it within a niche of, “Well, I like to play hockey.” So it’s a lot of hockey players, or a golf club, or Bridge, or they love theatre. I would really tell you, whatever you’re looking for is you. Where do you spend your time? Where could we position you in such a way that when you’re talking to people, they get who you are right away, and they go, “Oh. You get me and I get you.” And you become good friends with them. I’m listening to you, and I’m going, “Hmmm. I bet you’re pretty good friends with all the clients you deal with.”

Michelle: Yeah, we usually hit it off quite well. Either we’re close, or we’re not.

Glenn: Right.

Michelle: Of course, there are people I’ve dealt with that were, I think, just different personalities, and we didn’t get warm and fuzzy. But if there’s an opportunity to develop that, I’m there. The people that I continue to contact and keep in touch with – we have that extra connection. They understand where I’m coming from.

Glenn: Right. So if you think about it, you’ve probably had a lot of different friends in your life that you’re not friends with anymore, usually because your mindset’s shifted. You’ve grown past them. They’ve outgrown you. You’ve outgrown them. Some of us still hang around with our childhood friends, but there are a lot of friends and acquaintances that we just don’t spend time with, just because our values changed and they didn’t change with us. Does that make sense?

Michelle: Yeah.

Glenn: Yeah. So think about your real estate business the exact same way. “I only have to find 8-10 people (or 15). How many transactions would you like to do 12 months from now? It’s 12 months from now. We’ve had a perfect year – your best year ever. How many transactions would that be?

Michelle: I would say 12. 12 would be amazing. 10 would be acceptable.

Glenn: Okay, that’s perfect. So the next 12 months, we just have to find one person a month to do a transaction with. And that person – or that family, or single, or couple, or whoever it is – they just have to be like me. So if I had to fill your appointment calendar for next week, and you’re describing where I’m supposed to go and find those people who are just like you, where would you direct me? Where are people like you hanging out?

Michelle: The only places that I’ve been able to figure out are mostly Meetup groups.

Glenn: And what’s the name of the Meetup group?

Michelle: One of the Meetup groups I’ve been going to for a couple years is a wellness Meetup group. These are a lot of women entrepreneurs (it’s a female group), and I’d say about half the group are involved in some kind of wellness occupation. So I’ve kind of zeroed in on that, and I’m clicking with these people. I go maybe once or twice a month to that – those Meetups. I guess there are probably other places to find similar people with similar mindsets. And what do I do? I don’t have much of a life. I meet people for coffee or for dinner. I try to get a couple of those in every week. I’m trying to decide whether to join a gym at this point, but that’s a big hit or miss when it comes to networking.

Glenn: Do you like fitness classes?

Michelle: I don’t love them. This is one of my problems. I’m a skateboarder, and it doesn’t really jive with the real estate.

Glenn: There are not a lot of skateboarders owning homes?

Michelle: Well, believe it or not, there is an older aged group, but it’s a lot of guys. So unfortunately, one of my challenges is trying to move away from that a little. I went and played volleyball last weekend. That was fun. So I’m trying. I’m really trying to find other things to do. But I’m open to any suggestions you might have, or any ways to look. I think I probably could spend a little more time zeroing in on that buyer or seller and where they might be.

Glenn: Yeah, that’s the big thing. I’ve done my two and three-day seminars before, and the first part of the seminar is always about who you are and the second part is, “Who’s your target market?” And the biggest challenge sometimes at the seminars is people just picking one, because they think they’re limiting themselves, or they just can’t decide. What I’d really ask you to think about is just, who is your perfect, dream-come-true client? I’m not asking you to blow up the rest of your business (your past client database). I’m just saying, for the next three months, dedicate 20% or 25% of your time into this niche market of discovering where those people are. I remember working with one lady who loves playing Bridge with seniors, and I’m like, “Well, why don’t you play five games a week? Why wouldn’t you want to do that?” Her niche was going to be senior sale-leasebacks (when they stay in place and just sell their house). I’m like, “There’s no better way. You should be in Bridge tournaments. You should play Bridge 52 times a week, because that’s where your market is, right?”

Michelle: Right.

Glenn: You just have to go to where your market is, and then have the right thing to say at the right time. I’m going to give you just a couple of ideas – what I would probably suggest you do. Number one is you have to go back to everyone who’s bought and sold a house over the last two years with you. I want you to call and ask them two questions, okay? What we’re doing is we’re triggering your past client database for referrals right now, to give you some deals coming in while we’re building up your niche. So you’re going to ask them two questions, okay? They’re really difficult. Those people listening right now won’t even have to write them down, but here’s what it is. The first one is, “How are you?” The second question is, “How’s your home?” That is just a follow-up call. A lot of agents feel bad because they haven’t talked to their clients since they moved in or whatever. For other people, it’s no problem. When you call and ask that question to everyone who you bought and sold a house to right now, it says two things to them. It says you care, and you’re thinking about them. And isn’t that what we all really want in our life? We want to be self-important – that people care about us, and that we feel wanted. When you can call these people and just say, “Hey, listen. I was just thinking about you the other day” or “I just drove by your place the other day and I was thinking about you. I just thought I’d give you a call. How are you?” then they’re going to go, “Oh my God. Great! It’s so nice to hear from you, Michelle. We love the house! Blah blah blah blah blah.” And then you go, “How is the home?” And I would almost pray that something goes wrong, because it gives you an opportunity to over-serve and fix it. But if nothing goes wrong, it’s fine. And that’s all your conversation is. You don’t ask for referrals. You don’t do anything. They’re going to bring up the real estate market, because it’s what you have in common with them right now. It’s a great conversation starter. And the beautiful thing about this is, when you call them, you’re going to be top of their mind for the next week or two. Your number is going to be right on their easily accessible cell phone. When they’re out, and somebody’s talking about real estate, they’re going to go, “Oh! I was just talking to Michelle the other day.” So it’s a great opportunity for you to get a stream of referrals coming from those people. Our record right now is, one of the people we’re coaching called 37 past clients and got 14 referrals in two weeks.

Michelle: Oh, wow!

Glenn: Pretty good.

Michelle: Well, I did a lot of leasing in the first year or two.

Glenn: That’s fine.

Michelle: Yeah. I should be following up really hard with those people, but they haven’t been at the top of the list of people to call. But you’re right – I should be taking advantage of those relationships.

Glenn: 100%. When I’m coaching a lot of the top teams, the first thing I tell them to do is create a rental division and do 100 leases a year, because I know 40% of those people are probably going to move within 18 months. Why not pick up the phone, call those people who you already like, trust, and respect, who already know you, and just say, “How are you? How’s your rental? Do you want me to help you renew the lease? Is there anything I can help you with?” And you’re going to hear something like, “Yeah” or “You know what? No. I think we’re thinking about moving” or whatever. You’re like, “Perfect.” But it doesn’t even matter what they do. It’s more important who they tell about you because of the way you made them feel. So that’s number one.

Michelle: Okay.

Glenn: Number two – are most of these professionals into wellness (the females you’re talking about) – are most of them single? Or married? Or have partners? What would be the distribution there?

Michelle: I would say they are mostly married or with partners. There are maybe some that are single, but the age group really varies. I would say more-so married than not married.

Glenn: Okay. Is there a perfect client within that group that you would love to work with? Where are they living now? Where would they probably move to? Do you know any of that information?

Michelle: I think they’re pretty much across the GTA in the downtown part – Toronto proper. The meetings are on actually both sides of town. I’ve been going to the west side meeting, and there’s another group on the east side I went to last week and there was three other realtors there already.

Glenn: That’s okay.

Michelle: It was funny, because I work on the east side, but I’ve been meeting with the original people on the west side. It’s still a work in progress. There are one or two people that I’ve gotten close to. I actually did get one deal from one of the ladies in the group earlier this year, but I’m still building it. I’m still building the relationship. There are often different people at the Meetups each time, so it’s taking a little bit of time. I think one of the ladies that I’m very close to, the organizer, just rented a place, but she didn’t speak to me. Maybe her partner chose the person that they were going to work with.

Glenn: Well there’s no shortage of realtors right now, right? Everyone knows 8-10 realtors. I don’t know if you listened to an earlier podcast I did with Dan Sullivan? He’s like, “Yeah. Everyone knows 10. People don’t wake up and go, ‘I need more.’ But what they do need more of is someone who gets them.” I’m going to tell you right now, if you live on the east side, and you like working on the east side, you probably should stop going to the west side. I’ve gone to your website right now, and if I look at your website, you’ve got “Areas serviced,” and I think I’m counting about 72 areas serviced in Toronto. All that says to somebody is that you’re trying to be everything to everybody, and you end up being nothing to anybody. It’s no different than if you ever see those white repair vans, and it says, “We do landscaping, roofing, kitchens, bathrooms, renos, cottage repairs, electrical, plumbing.” They list every possible thing they do, because they don’t want to miss anybody. And then you have the one-day painting company that everybody knows what that company does. The more narrow you get on this, the better it’s going to be, right? So I think that’s number one. I would focus more local, and go to more events locally to you, because you have more confidence probably with the east side market than the west. Is that correct?

Michelle: I just like the east side. I’m very comfortable with either side in that I’ve lived in the city for 30 years, and I just know the neighbourhoods. So I don’t limit myself. Obviously, being a new agent, you don’t limit yourself. I’ll drive to Mississauga if I have to.

Glenn: I totally get that.

Michelle: It’s hard to pick! It really is hard to pick.

Glenn: That’s what we’re trying to figure out, right? I mean, that’s the beauty. I’m looking at this site. It says you’re a specialist in Agincourt?

Michelle: Oh no. Does it say that?

Glenn: Upper Valley? Wychwood? Hillcrest Village, Mimico, Bloordale, Casa Loma, Lambton Baby Point, Willowdale. You’ve got everything. There’s nothing that you’re not an expert in. And I’m telling you, the marketplace knows it.

Michelle: Where does it say that? I have to check this out.

Glenn: This is royallepage.ca. If I look at your name, that’s where it sits.

Michelle: Oh, that’s my Royal LePage site. Okay.

Glenn: I know, but that’s what comes up on the Google search, right? That’s what people are doing. You have to know, people are searching you and creeping you before they actually even meet you. Your digital presence really matters. What you’ve got on your areas of expertise is really good. You’ve got Condominiums, Rentals, First-time Buyers, Lofts, New Condominiums.

Michelle: Are you looking at my michellepoirier.ca site? Or my Royal LePage site?

Glenn: Royallepage.ca. Yeah.

Michelle: Okay. I haven’t looked at that one in awhile because I’ve focused on my other site. Thank you for pointing that out.

Glenn: No problem. I’m just trying to get michellepoirier.ca to open. Okay. “Find your dream home now.” You’ve got a lot of pictures. You’ve got semi-detached. You’ve got lofts, luxury, bungalows, townhouses.

Michelle: Yeah. It’s a typical agent locator website.

Glenn: Right. So the challenge with this is, this is what everyone’s got. The reason that you won’t be getting a lot of these online leads right now is because you’ve got the “vanilla” site. I’m not picking on you. I’m just saying, most agents – this is their problem. They’re trying to be everything to everybody, and you end up being nothing to anybody. That’s the big problem we’re trying to fight with The McQueenie Method. Where are the testimonials from 10 of your past clients that say, “I loved working with Michelle because she wasn’t like most agents. She was patient and methodical. We were very picky buyers, but she never ran out of patience. She safely guided us to getting to that transaction. I would recommend anyone who’s like us to use Michelle.” That’s what your digital presence should be saying.

Michelle: Okay.

Glenn: We’re going overtime here on the 25-Minute call, but I think I want to stay. Are you okay? Do you still have some more time?

Michelle: Yeah, I’m okay.

Glenn: Okay, good. I’m going to stay with this a bit longer, because what you’re going through, Michelle, is what most agents are going through exactly right now.

Michelle: Yeah.

Glenn: And it’s the reason I wrote the book. The reason I did the book is because everyone is just sitting there going, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t really know. I know I love what I want to do, but I can’t seem to get the right people to work with all the time.” So this call has been about this exploration, okay? What does Michelle really, really want? And then trying to find the pathway for it, right? So the first is: who are you? We’ve figured that one out. Target market – I think we’re still a bit fuzzy on exactly what that perfect, computer avatar is. The more we narrow it there, I think the better it’s going to be on this one part of your business. What you’ll find is, once you find your niche, the first month, it’s 10% or 15% of your time, and then you start making deals. And then the second month you go, “Boy! This stuff is working!” Then you start putting 30% or 40% of your time into it. Within a year, probably 80% of the deals you do will be exactly with your niche market. And here’s the beauty: when you can service that niche at a really high level, all of their friends are similar to them, and they’re the gatekeepers. How you show up and serve them will determine if they open the gate and bring you into their sphere (and most people know 200-400 people easily). So it’s not only about finding the target market. It’s then about servicing them at such a high level that they become raving fans of your business, so that they just start telling everyone they know. Now you start coming into what we call the referral-receiving category (or lead-receiving), instead of having to go out and lead-generate all the time. That’s really the magic we’re trying to discover here. So my other question to you would be: how would your clients describe you? And do you have your 60-second stump speech that you say when you meet people?

Michelle: I’m always working on that speech. My most recent speech was just telling the ladies at the group that I’m beginning to specialize in helping people that are downsizing or needing somebody who’s going to help them make a difficult move. I did plan one, because we do introduce ourselves at each meeting, so I had one set up recently for that purpose. But there are just so many possibilities. I’m being pulled in different directions all the time with all the ways of lead generation. There are always changes in technology, changes in new database technology. There’s always a lot coming at you, so really fine-tuning things is always something that I’m trying to do, but I never quite get it. That’s why I started listening to your podcast.

Glenn: Well, if you want some coaching advice, I would just say “Stop it” on almost all the stuff you’re doing right now, because none of it really matters. There’s nothing that money can’t solve, right? So the more we can get your production up right now, you can hire people to solve every single one of those problems that you’re spending so much time with. The challenge with most agents is they’re spending so much time in this irritating stuff that just has to get done but doesn’t really produce income, that they’re too tired and burnt out to actually do the activities that produce income. So I’m going to change your introduction speech right now for you, okay?

Michelle: Okay.

Glenn: This is your elevator pitch, or it’s when someone meets you and says, “What do you do?” Right? So let’s hear what you say first. So I’ve just met you and we’re talking, and I go, “Hey, Michelle. So what do you do?”

Michelle: “Hi Glenn. I work in real estate in the Toronto area. I’m focusing right now on people that are empty nesters or in the process of downsizing, because I have the tools available to help them.” Oh, gosh. I just – I couldn’t even do it on the fly.

Glenn: Okay, well what do you do in real life? Just pretend. I’m not trying to put you on the spot, but just imagine that we’ve just met each other. And this doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s your story, right?

Michelle: I’m terrible at this.

Glenn: So that’s why we’re going to fix it, okay? Forget it. I’m not going to put you on the spot anymore. Let’s just fix it, okay?

Michelle: Okay.

Glenn: So when someone says, “How’s real estate?” most agents make two big mistakes. First of all, they say, “It’s great.” And the second thing they say is, “I’m really busy.”

Michelle: Right.

Glenn: And those are the two worst things you could ever say, because you’re projecting that you’re successful, and what they’re hearing is, “Oh good. You don’t need my help.”

Michelle: Right.

Glenn: Think about that. What people learn is really by metaphors. We learn by stories, and great stories. The more you can learn to tell a great story when someone asks you, “What do you do?” the more interest you have. You’ve got 10 seconds or 15 seconds to really grab their attention, or they’re going to wane off on you. So if I’m Michelle, and I’m at a fitness group, and you’re talking to everyone afterwards, and then you’re like, “Do you live around here?” “Yes, we do.” And then, “What do you do?” And you say, “I’m in real estate, and I really specialize in helping people come from big homes down to small homes. Just a couple weeks ago, I helped this young family move from here to here. They were able to put $400,000 in the bank, and now they’re able to take more time off and spend more time travelling and doing the things they really want to do. And on a monthly cash flow basis, they don’t have to pay the high condo fees and the high taxes anymore, and they’re just so happy! And I just saw a place the other day that’s perfect for someone to downsize. Do you know anyone who’s thinking about downsizing?”

Michelle: Okay.

Glenn: Does that make sense?

Michelle: Okay. Well I have a good story I could use there, because I actually just did something like that. Yeah, I could totally work that.

Glenn: Okay, so let’s hear your story. Tell me the story. “Hi, Michelle. How are you? Are you living around here? What do you do, Michelle?”

Michelle: “Hi Glenn. I’m in real estate, and I specialize in helping people downsize into smaller homes. Just the other day, I helped a client sell her Victorian semi over in Leslieville, and she moved into a wonderful loft close to the Distillery. In the process, she paid off her mortgage and is now living 100% debt-free and she’s loving it! Have you noticed the Corktown area is doing wonderful? Do you know anyone who might be interested in going through the process of downsizing right now and moving into a loft or townhouse in the east end?”

Glenn: I think you did very well! That’s a lot better than your first one, right?

Michelle: That’s the best I could do on the fly.

Glenn: That’s right.

Michelle: I really need to write things down. I’m still feeling really green when it comes to talking about myself and what I do.

Glenn: That’s right, but see, this is the big leap forward for you. If we only have a 20-second audition, potentially, in front of somebody, how do we get them to open their gate to other people? I wouldn’t be like, “So who do you know?” or “Do you have anyone else?” or “Can you send me referrals?” because I don’t know if that really works that much, especially with those passive-aggressive Torontonians. I think it’s much better if you just tell winning formula stories, and then change the story depending on who you’re talking to. So if you’re working with a younger age group and it’s someone who’s had their first child and you want to help them sell their condo and move into Leslieville right now, then you just change the story: “What I do is I really help young couples with young families who are trying to get out of the condominium into beautiful homes with great backyards so they don’t have to lug all the groceries up the stairs. I just helped this young couple. They sold their place in Liberty Village and they’ve just bought over on the Danforth. And because the prices have just corrected right now, the condo didn’t go down as much as the semi they were buying, so they were able to move up way cheaper than if they did in the first quarter of this year. I’m telling you, this is one of the best opportunities for people to move up. Do you know a young couple with one baby who’s thinking about moving up?” The more specific you ask is exactly how our brain works. Our mind works like a computer filing cabinet, right? It’s like a computer file. If I was to say to you, “Who do you know who’s getting married this year?” probably the name would come right to the top of your head, because it was so specific what I asked for.

Michelle: Right.

Glenn: If I said, “Who do you know who’s thinking about buying or selling?” people are like, “Oh my God. That’s too much mental work to figure out,” so they just go, “I don’t know, but I’ll keep you in mind!” So the more specific referral requests you can ask, the better it’s going to be. We’ve only got about a minute or two left here, but just over the next short period of time, if you really want to perfect the dialogues (which I think is going to be your best lead generation source), just go meet more people and keep saying the same thing to them, and then you’re going to be connecting with different people. This could be your niche right now, but the best way to create value and add value to them is to be giving them specific numbers. “We downsized their semi-Victorian. They sold it for $1.6 million, and they were able to buy a condo in the Distillery District for $750,000. They were able to pay off their mortgage, and now they live debt-free.” That’s a really good story. It’s a great addition to the story you told. It’s specific facts and data.

Michelle: Specific numbers. Yeah, okay.

Glenn: Yeah. Just think about that. And then I would create your own Facebook page called “Picky People who Downsize.” That would be awesome.

Michelle: Oh, that’s great!

Glenn: And there, all you do is feature articles for picky people who’d like to downsize, and tell stories of how you just helped those picky people downsize into another property. “Here’s my ‘Picky People Downsize’ home of the week.” You could say, “This beautiful condo is ideal for someone who’s thinking about moving down from their Victorian in Leslieville.”

Michelle: Right. Okay.

Glenn: Do you see how specific we are? The beautiful thing about Facebook and Facebook targeted ads (and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it) is you just have to claim your name, and when you claim the name, people automatically think you’re a specialist in it.

Michelle: Right. But you can have multiple Facebook pages.

Glenn: No, just one. Okay, stop it.

Michelle: Okay, there I go!

Glenn: Just get one going, okay? I know. See, there you go again! “Okay, we’ll do 15 pages!” No, no, just get one going.

Michelle: I’m branching out. I’m branching out already!

Glenn: Get one master one, and then you can move on to the next one. You could start Googling “Picky people who buy real estate” and start finding really interesting articles and start reposting them up on your Facebook with links back to your homepage. Business pages are free. They’re so easy to set up on Facebook. If you ever look at most Facebook feeds, all the other agents are just talking about, “Here’s my new listing,” and nobody cares.

Michelle: Right.

Glenn: What people are really looking for in all the noise out there is someone who gets them, because the irony is, even though we’re more connected than we ever have been in life, there are more people feeling more disconnected from everyone else than ever.

Michelle: Right.

Glenn: They’re just looking for people like them that they can hang out with and have something in common. I would even share your link back to all your past clients and go, “I’m looking for all the pickiest people you know. Can you share this link with them? I’m going to have a semi-funny, educational look at targeting picky people. “Picky people pursuing patient agent.” As many alliterations as you can is the best, right? If you had cartoons of picky people trying to find something, or a picky person trying to make a decision – that’s what talks to somebody. No one else will get it except for the picky person who will get the biggest laugh out of the whole thing.

Michelle: Right. Okay. This sounds like a pretty narrow market.

Glenn: I know! That’s the point.

Michelle: It really does.

Glenn: The narrower the market, the deeper the market.

Michelle: So if I’m going after this client, do I also need to go after this client in a certain area only? Do I restrict myself to the east side? That’s the part that I find hard.

Glenn: Start small and go wide. You have to go narrow first before you go wide.

Michelle: Okay.

Glenn: You can Google a thing called “the Long Tail,” which is all about niche markets. But if you ever get to Yorkdale or Fairview Mall or some of the big shopping centres, the people who are going under and out of business are the big department stores trying to be everything to everybody because they don’t want to miss anything, and they end up being nothing to nobody. No one wakes up and goes, “I’ve got to go to Sears today,” right?

Michelle: Not anymore.

Glenn: Right. Or Target in Canada, or some of the other ones. Next time, just walk through a shopping mall (not a neighbourhood street, but a shopping mall) and just look at the busiest stores. I will guarantee you they are the narrowest market all the time. Look at the line up for the Sunglass Hut, SoftMoc, or lululemon. Look at how busy those stores are compared to the people trying to be everything.

Michelle: Right.

Glenn: The new thing is, we can find information so quickly, and we’re trying to find someone who’s the specialist in solving my unique problem. When you position yourself in the marketplace that way, that’s where you win. So go really narrow. Narrow your focus, and every time you start going, “Oh my God, this is too narrow” just go, “Glenn said stop it.” Just keep as narrow as possible. I think that’d be a great story. “What do you do in real estate?” “Oh, I just help picky people downsize.” “What?” “Yeah. I’m the expert. I’ve got a Facebook page called ‘Picky People Rightsizing their home.’” (Or whatever). That becomes on your website. It becomes on your car. It’s “pickypeoplerealestate.com.” You start tying everything back together. And then guess what? When you keep talking about picky people, you’ll get picky people.

Michelle: They’ll all regret it! No, I’m kidding.

Glenn: It’ll be great!

Michelle: Yeah. I guess the only thing (and I know that we’re running out of time) – the  only thing that worries me is if I announce that this is what I’m doing, and all the people that I’m talking to are not in that age group or they’re not in the process of downsizing, do I alienate any of them by saying that?

Glenn: No. You actually get more people. It’s so weird, right? Most of your clients think you only do what you did to them anyway, and it hasn’t stopped them from referring other people to you. If you helped someone lease a condo, they’ll usually send other people who want to lease a condo.

Michelle: Right. Yeah.

Glenn: So they have already got you positioned as doing one thing. What actually happens is you get a bigger market. When I’m on the golf course, and people are saying, “Glenn, how’s real estate?” I always will tell a story about how our brokerage is focusing on helping people rightsize their homes, because the people I’m talking to are usually 50-70-year-old men who are thinking about downsizing their homes. So now I’m known at the club as the person (if anyone’s thinking about downsizing or rightsizing or doing sale-leasebacks) they should come and talk to, because I’m the specialist in it.

Michelle: I see.

Glenn: It expands your market. It doesn’t detract it, because all the other agents, when people go, “What do you do?” or “How’s real estate?” they go, “Oh, it’s great! I’m really busy.” And it’s like, “No, you’re not. And it’s not great. So why are you lying to people?” Right?

Michelle: Yeah.

Glenn: Okay, we’ve got to wrap this up, Michelle.

Michelle: Okay, thank you Glenn!

Glenn: Did you get some ideas there?

Michelle: Yeah! Yeah, that was wonderful. Thank you very much for all of that.

Glenn: You’re welcome. I’m going to start stalking you now and making sure I find that “Picky People” Facebook page as your first step, because I think it’s going to be really great for you!

Michelle: Okay, great! Thank you!

Glenn: Alright. Thanks a million! Okay, bye!

Michelle: Okay, bye!

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