“20 Minutes of Successful Niche Secrets – EPISODE 13”,
Where I Interview Catherine Dawe
“PODCAST – EPISODE 13,” Where I coach Catherine Dawe and help her to fine-tune her niche!
Glenn: Welcome everybody, to the 25-Minute Coaching Podcast. The whole goal of these podcasts is to work one-on-one with agents that have a certain challenge or obstacle, and within 25 minutes, solve the problem and finish with a blueprint so that people can go on and have great success in their niche market or double their income for the next year. So today, I’m so excited, because I have Catherine Dawe from Montreal on the phone. So hi, Catherine!
Catherine: Hi, Glenn. How are you?
Glenn: I’m great. How are you doing today?
Catherine: I’m great. Thank you very much.
Glenn: What I love about doing these calls is we can just take whatever the issue is and just really break it down into little pieces. So first of all, before we start on that, if anyone’s got people who are going to be relocating to Montreal, Catherine’s the person you should probably be sending your referrals to. So Catherine, where do you work, first of all? And what is your contact number if anyone wants to follow up and have a conversation with you or refer business to you?
Catherine: Well I’m a Keller Williams agent, and the agency is KW Urbain, downtown Montreal. And you can reach me at 514-910-2215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn: Perfect. Alright. So what would you say is the biggest challenge or obstacle that you’re facing right now in your business?
Catherine: Well there are two that I’m working on now, and the first one is the lack of a really big “why.” The second is trying to figure out the niche. I’ve been in business for 10 years, and I’ve never figured out what the niche market is because I allow myself to get pulled in a number of different directions. So I’ve been working on that a bit, and I’ve realized that where I do most of my business is not exactly where I am most comfortable doing my business. So I kind of want to move it, but I’m not sure how.
Glenn: Okay. So if we look back in the last 12 months, what were the five top deals that you had? What were the five transactions, that when you reflect back on, you’re like, “If I could just get more people like that, buying homes there, because I really liked these qualities about these people,” what would it be? What does that look like? Can you paint a picture for us?
Catherine: I like people that are able to make decisions, that appreciate the qualities that I’m going to bring to a transaction, that know what they want, and that are open to my suggestions. I have a bit of an issue with people that are too detailed and picky. Despite being good at what I do, people like that make me very insecure. So, executive kind of people, motivated buyers, and buyers that are going to appreciate and trust the advice that I can bring to them.
Glenn: Okay. So what kind of volume do you do right now? How many transactions? (Just so everyone can understand where you are right now in your business).
Catherine: I’ve done about 40 transactions a year for the last couple years.
Glenn: Okay. So that’s pretty big. That’s a big book of business.
Catherine: Yeah. Not as big as I want it to be, though.
Glenn: Okay. So the first thing we can talk about is, what you mentioned (all the qualities that you liked about those clients) are really mindsets that are probably very similar to yours. It’s really people who have almost the same values as you do, because I always find when you’re working with people who don’t have the same values, there’s just a conflict, right? And it’s really hard to get excited when people don’t have the same type of values as you do. So let’s just talk about, first of all, the kind of mindsets that you mentioned. I’ll review some of them, and you can add to them. So you like professionals, executives, people who make decisions quickly, who appreciate you, and appreciate the value that you bring to the transaction. What were some of your other ones? I think that was the top five. Was there a couple more?
Catherine: Well I have a lot of fun working with gay men, but I don’t know if that’s a niche market or not?
Glenn: Perfect. Of course it is. Yeah.
Catherine: And I’m pretty good with working with people that are getting divorced, actually – high-end divorces. But again, is that a niche market? I don’t know.
Glenn: Yeah. It is. It’s a great niche market.
Catherine: And high-end properties. Properties that are selling in about the $1,000,000 range. That’s probably where I’m most comfortable.
Glenn: Okay. Is that your luxury market? What would be the luxury brand? Just so everyone understands, what would be the band of pricing in Montreal?
Catherine: I think it depends on the size of property that you’re buying, but if you’re looking at a condo, then a smaller condo at $750,000 would be luxury. But they could go up into the several millions. I don’t do luxury houses.
Glenn: Okay. So it’s more downtown work you do than more outside of the inner core?
Catherine: Yeah. A lot of downtown condos.
Glenn: Right. For those on the call, you might not understand these areas, but you can answer these questions yourself. So if I had to paint a picture for you, like, “Okay Catherine, tomorrow at 10 a.m. and at 1 p.m. and at 4 p.m., you have three client meetings. Who are they? Where are they now? Where are they going? And why are they moving?” It would be your dream come true.
Catherine: Oh my goodness. Who are they? Where are they coming from? And where are they going?
Glenn: Yeah. And why are they moving? Just reflect back on your last year, people who you’ve helped.
Catherine: Okay, so the ones that I have dealt with? Parents of students that are going to McGill or that want to buy a family condo; international people that are coming in that want to buy themselves a nice residence in the heart of downtown; people that are moving from a smaller condo into a luxurious property; newly-formed couples. Oh my goodness. You’ve stumped me. Okay. Give me the questions one at a time.
Glenn: Yeah. And I’m not here to stump you. I’m just trying to paint the picture for people listening, and for yourself, too, of, “Who is your dream come true client?” When you look back and go, “Wow. I helped these people sell their small condo here and move here and I loved working with them. They were amazing people, and I love the product that I was selling. If I could just fill my schedule every week with that type of client meeting” – who would be that perfect client? What’s their demographic? How old are they? You already mentioned that they’re professional and that they’re executive. How much is the condo they’re selling, and how much would it be that they’re buying? So let me just ask you a question: if they’re selling a smaller condo and buying a bigger condo, what are the two prices they’re moving from? One price to another?
Catherine: They could be selling a two-bedroom at $400,000 and moving up into a three-bedroom with parking in a better area at $700,000? $800,000?
Glenn: Okay. So if we were to add those two numbers together, and you could figure out and calculate the commission that you would make on that, how many of those would you have to do if that’s the only thing you do in order to hit your annual goals?
Catherine: My annual goals for next year? I’d probably have to do about 40 of those.
Glenn: 40 of those.
Catherine: 35. Yeah.
Glenn: 35 ends? Or 35 people (so 70 ends?) What would it be?
Catherine: When I add the two transactions together, I would need to do 35 of those to hit my goal for 2016.
Glenn: Right. Okay. So if we wanted to focus on that area of your niche market, there’s a bit of a unique conversation that’s going on in their head when they’re sitting in a smaller condo thinking about going to a larger, three-bedroom condo with parking. So what is their biggest fear? What are they thinking, and what keeps them up at night? If we could design a marketing platform for you, or other marketing piece, (whether it be a Facebook group or whatever), that would just target those people who are sitting in $400,000 condos and wanted to go to $900,000 condos, what would we do? What’s keeping them up at night? What are your conversations when you’re working with them?
Catherine: There’s concern about a downturn in the condo market in Montreal. There’s concern about not getting enough money for their own property but paying too much for the other property. There’s a concern about lack of sufficient inventory.
Catherine: And surprisingly enough, there does not seem to be a concern about potential economic downturn. That’s not even in the picture. So really, it’s lack of inventory, selling theirs for too little, and buying the other one for too much.
Glenn: Right. So if what they’re thinking about, really, is, “How do I get the most money for the condo that I’m in?” we could start doing a blog or a marketing piece about it. Or post it on Facebook: “The 12 secrets to get the most money for your condo in Montreal.” And you probably would know those 12 secrets, right? I’m not going to put you on the spot now, but if you were actually doing a consultation with a seller, you would be able to say, “Okay. Here’s the best way for you to get the most money for your property,” right?
Catherine: That’s interesting. Yeah. Yeah, I could do that.
Glenn: Yeah, because what we’re trying to do is enter the unique conversation that’s already going on in your prospect’s head. And when you come out with this list of the 12 secrets to getting the most money for your condo, they go, “I want that.” So they put up their hand and they go, “Yeah, I’d love to get that.” And then you know where they are, and what their concern is. There’s probably an area in Montreal where most of these people are living right now, and then they go into the new area. Or is it in the same area, just a bigger building? Are they moving far geographically? Or is it nearby?
Catherine: They’re staying relatively close to the downtown core. They could be moving from a more bohemian, funky area over to a wealthier, more stable area. Or they would stay within their own area.
Catherine: It could be one or the other. But both of the areas are not far, one from the other.
Glenn: Right. So the other offer that we could give them is a free list of the Top 10 Best Luxury Condo Deals in Montreal right now. “Would you like a free list of the Top 10 Best Deals of two or three-bedroom luxury condos in Montreal with parking between this price and this price?”
Catherine: And that’s all through Facebook?
Glenn: Yeah. Well we could do it either way you want to do it. It just depends on where we’re going to hit your market. Where’s your market right now? You could also do Craigslist or Kijiji. You could do online marketing around that. But what I found is that most people are on Facebook.
Catherine: Right. We could do that as a pay-per-click? Yes.
Glenn: You could do it. Or you could just boost a post on Facebook.
Glenn: So even on your Facebook page and to your Facebook friends, if you started just publishing more articles about what your target market is looking for, then who’s going to reply to that?
Catherine: Oh. Right now I publish pretty much anything that I feel like publishing.
Catherine: Right now on Facebook, I’m not so strategic about the stuff I’m posting on my Facebook page. That’s interesting.
Glenn: Right. It’s almost like if someone was going fishing – there are different lures that catch different types of fish. So you start positioning yourself in the marketplace as the person who understands what those people are looking for and what they need, and then you start giving it to them. It looks random to them, but it’s exactly what they’re looking for, right? So when you give someone exactly what they’re looking for, targeted directly to them, it’s pretty hard for them to go, “No, I’m not interested in it. I don’t want to do it.” So if you could do a report on luxury condos in Montreal and send it out to your database, and you get them, they will start sending it out to people they know who might be looking for a condo. And then you start to position yourself as the expert on Montreal Luxury Condos. And when people Google “Montreal Luxury Condos,” and you have a Facebook page called “Montreal Luxury Condos,” guess what? That’s what Facebook does – it comes right up on the first page of the searches, right? And if someone can come and go, “Oh!” and they can look at your site and see that you’re the only one talking about what they’re really looking for, then that’s when they start putting their hand up and reaching out to you. And that’s what marketing is. Prospecting is: you’ve got to go hunt them down. Marketing is: you keep giving them such incredible offers that it’s impossible for them to say no, and then they put up their hand and say, “Yeah, I’m interested in that free report.”
Catherine: Okay. You can’t see me, but I’m smiling.
Glenn: Because that’s exactly what they want. And all the other agents right now are trying to be generalists, because they don’t want to miss anybody. So because they’re trying to be everything to everybody, they’re nothing to nobody. And then you break through this and go, “I’m the one who’s got exactly what you’re looking for.”
Catherine: Now how many of these different Facebook pages and niche markets can we have?
Glenn: Well that’s the beautiful thing. That’s the great thing about building a business. If we started with just moving the needle here on what people are looking for to sell their condo and then go to luxury condos, and that was your first niche that we developed, then you could do the exact same thing for international students who want to buy a condo near McGill. “Here are the 12 secrets to buying the best condo next to McGill for your son or daughter.” And that becomes the page. And you could hire somebody, because it sounds like you’re more excited working in the executive professional level than helping international.
Catherine: You’re exciting me about just creating this stuff!
Glenn: Yeah. Well that’s the fun thing about it, right?
Catherine: It sounds like fun!
Glenn: Yeah. Well that’s the game you get to play, right? You get to go, “Oh, I know what they’re looking for now, because I’m the only one who’s thought about this.” And then you start to play Chess with them. You start to go, “Okay. Well, this is probably what I’m going to give you because this should be your next move.” And you could even do a book. You could do a book right now in Montreal on “The 10 Secrets to Buying Your First Student Condo in Montreal.” You could do a special report on “The 10 Secrets to Buying a Luxury Condo.” You could rank the buildings. So the moment you start giving your knowledge away for free, and coming from contribution to your target market, is the moment they’ll start to consume it and then reach out to you.
Catherine: Interesting. Very interesting. Okay.
Glenn: So what are your thoughts about that? Does that make sense to you?
Catherine: Absolutely. It clarifies a direction that I should go in for my marketing, which, up until now, has involved, yes, door-knocking and flyers and, “Just Listed,” “Just Sold” – that kind of thing. But this just seems so much more focused and more targeted towards the people that I want to attract, as opposed to just throwing the spaghetti all over the fridge. I’m just going in and selecting the people and sending something to the people that I want to work with.
Glenn: Right. And then you just start giving them more and more free offers, right? So not only, “Here’s the report on those condos,” but, “Would you like a free list of the Top 10 Best Units?” So how are we going to give them the right list for them? That’s when they’re going to reach out by phone or email or text or whatever, and then you go right into a Buyer Consultation, and you just ask the four simple questions: “What does the perfect condo look like? What is the perfect area? What is the perfect time frame for you? And what’s your perfect price?” And anyone who answers those questions, you’ll be able to go on and pull off the Top 10 Condos. And then you send it to them and go, “Oh, by the way, we also are offering a free orientation tour of these condos. No cost. No obligation. The first two tours are on me. Just want to make sure that this is the right thing for you guys to do right now and want to see if your money and expectation’s at the right level.” And just go and serve them. And you can always, after the tour, go and meet for a coffee. Say, “Hey, we just did the tour. Why don’t we sit down for coffee and get really clear on what you’re looking for?” And I just find that this way of coming from contribution is normal I think, for me, but it seems crazily unique in the real estate marketplace right now, because everyone else is putting up barriers. “Sign in at my Open House so I can follow up with you,” or “You must sign Buyer Agency Representations or documents before I do anything.” The risk is on the consumer when it shouldn’t be. Just make it so ridiculously easy. And here’s the magic that you’re going to find, Catherine – and you probably already found it – is those people are friends with people just like them. So once you get into their network, (there are law firms in Toronto where I’ve done tons of transactions because I got in to one lawyer), they just keep referring within. The beautiful thing about the market you’re in is they’re professional. They make a lot of money per hour, so your fee is really nothing to them, compared to working in the first-home buyer market, right?
Catherine: Their time is valuable. Yeah. Alright, then here’s a question, because you keep referring to it being a “free” report. Do you find that it’s necessary to use that word “free,” because sometimes it makes me think that it’s obviously a hook.
Glenn: It could be. It’s your perception. Everyone’s got different perceptions on it. All I’m trying to do is just lower the resistance to someone taking the offer.
Glenn: I want to use words like “free, no obligation, no commitment,” because the initial stage is like dating. I think our industry’s got it backwards, where they sit there and say, “Well before I do work with you, you have to sign basically a marriage Buyer Contract with me.” And I’m like, “Call me old fashioned, but how about we date for a little bit? Because I might not be the right agent for you, and you might not be the right client for me. So let’s just go date.” And that’s why I always want to be using those words, like, “Hey, no obligation. No commitment. Let’s just go out.” We might go out and it’s not the right time for you. Well that’s perfectly fine with me, because I can put you in my database, and I can send you interesting stuff that’s pertinent to you. And maybe nine months or a year from now is fine. Well, that’s how the world works. I really strongly believe that agents have to let buyers and sellers move on their own timeline – not the agent’s.
Catherine: Yeah. I agree.
Glenn: An agent will say to me, “Glenn, I want to do four deals by the end of the year. I’ve got to do four deals.” And I’m like, “That’s your problem. It’s not the universe’s problem. It’s not the client’s problem out there. It’s your problem. I like your intention. You want to do four more transactions. Great! But it’s pretty hard to meet somebody right now today and have a closed transaction or a written deal within the next week or two. The percentages are just so out of whack on that.
Catherine: And it’s not fair to the client.
Glenn: It’s not. And it’s this whole mindset, too. People are like, “Oh, I only show people five homes, and if they don’t buy then I get rid of them.” I’m like, “You’re just in the short money trap.” Short money is: you’ve got to do a deal right now, and that’s your problem. Long money is: your business is your database, and your book of business is how well you serve people and how many referrals you generate out of a really healthy database, because you come from contribution all the time.
Catherine: Interesting. It’s amazing how you can look at business when you step back a few metres. You see things very differently than when you’re in the middle of it, and you’re trying to put out this report or get that deal done or drum up new business. When you get better perspective, it becomes a lot simpler and a lot clearer.
Glenn: Yeah. And I think it’s easy. I like to refer to it as “friction-free real estate.” It should be so easy. Even something as simple as someone wanting to go see condos – a lot of people say, “Come in for a Buyer Consultation.” Why don’t you just skip the step? Why don’t you say, “What are you looking for? Let’s go and take a look,” and then just go for coffee afterwards. Now you’ve accomplished the exact same goal, but you’ve had two hours to build rapport and build trust. They’ve been checking you out and you were checking them out, and you know by the end of that period of time if it’s someone you want to work with, and if they want to work with you. I think more and more people now are so connected in this world – but they’re also so lonely, and not being helped. They’re not even being heard in the world right now. And I think the more that we can give them the individual attention they deserve, serve them at an incredibly high level and make the transaction so fantastic, then they’re just going to become raving fans for your business. What’s your favourite restaurant in Montreal right now?
Catherine: I like going down to a place called “Holder” in Old Montreal.
Glenn: Right. And do they do any advertising?
Catherine: They do a bit, but it’s mostly because people like the atmosphere down there and they’ve got a very loyal clientele.
Glenn: Right. And they’re busy, because people love the product.
Catherine: Always busy. The food’s good. The people are great. The service is fantastic. And they remember you and they welcome you, and you feel important when you go in there.
Glenn: Right. And that’s the secret to your real estate business – your product is great and your service is fantastic. You’re always busy because people are always coming back to you, and you’re in the reorder business instead of just doing a deal. People love referring other people to you. And that’s just the secret recipe. Your real estate practice is no different than your favourite restaurant. And then you can compare your favourite restaurant to some of the other big chains in Montreal where people are spending millions of dollars advertising to get new customers all the time because they do such a bad job that they have to keep marketing. So it’s really cool. So how was that? Did that solve a little bit? Do you think you have a bit of a blueprint right now?
Catherine: Oh, it’s wonderful. I’ve got a big smile on my face and I can’t wait to get off the phone and get started!
Glenn: And get going! Okay, so I’m just going to stop the recording right now, Catherine, but just hold on the line, okay? But thanks a million. I really appreciate this.
Catherine: Thank you!