“20 Minutes of Successful Niche Secrets – EPISODE 58,”
Where I coach Jerome Schrier to have clients calling him for business versus having to lead generate
Glenn: Hi! It’s Glenn McQueenie, and welcome to my 25-Minute Success Series Podcast. Today we have a special guest, Jerome Schrier, from Keller Williams Referred Realty in Toronto. How are you doing, Jerome?
Jerome: I’m doing well! Thank you for having me!
Glenn: Good! I’m wondering, Jerome, if you can just give our listeners a little background – how long you’ve been in the business, what your area of focus is (or was), and where you would like to take your business over the next 12 months.
Jerome: Okay, great. I’ve been in real estate for approximately 12 years. I’ve been with Keller Williams for about nine and a half years. I haven’t really moved on from there. I’ve always been looking to see what I can do and who I can help in real estate, and this is where we are right now. Basically, 12 years of my life goes right now to talking to Glenn.
Glenn: You’re too nice. So where were you getting your business over the last 12 years, and where do you want to move your business to?
Jerome: Well, I’m originally from Montreal, and when I moved from Montreal to Toronto years ago, before I was in real estate, I had other businesses. I started really from scratch, not knowing a lot of people, not having a big centre of influence. I worked hard, got the family, family friends, etc. Once I started building that up, I did a lot of Open Houses to build up my clientele. Once I built it up to a certain level, I actually at that point lived with my centre of influence. I lived a lot with my SOI, forgetting my new business – but never enough business. I sort of plateau, and I just needed to break through. And that’s always been my big issue, is breaking through. Just one day I’d like to have people really calling me, rather than me calling them. So most of my business is from my past clients.
Glenn: Okay. When you said SOI, it’s “Sphere of Influence,” (just in case people don’t know that acronym). Okay, so you’ve got a past client database, but kind of plateaued at one production level, and just want to step it up now, make as much money as you can, help as many people as you can, and live happily ever after.
Jerome: You got it!
Glenn: There we go. Okay, so when it comes to niche markets, the whole key thing is just bring you, right? You’re perfect the way you are. All of your experience, your personality, your mindsets, are all about lining you up with your target market of people who just love Jerome. The whole plan of your niche is just bring you to your target market, create a unique service offering, and then do such a great job with them and create a raving fan experience that they just feel compelled to tell everyone they know about you. So who would you love to help? If you had to focus on one group, one segment of the population, who would you love to focus on and why?
Jerome: Realistically, I would love clients that say, “Thank you.” That is, to me, the biggest “Yippee/Yahoo!” there is. For somebody to say, “Thank you very much for helping. Thank you very much for your opinion. Thank you very much for being you” – that is who I want to target.
Glenn: Okay. So what’s their biggest problem? What’s keeping them up at night? How can we brainstorm together to create a unique solution to attract them?
Jerome: I think a lot of it – and I’ve been leaning on this a couple of years and I just haven’t broken through – is people with money issues (possibly people who have second mortgages, third mortgages, things like that). Or people who don’t even have a mortgage, but just don’t have that money. They need to sell, but don’t know how to go about it. I think the people who are afraid to ask for help, are the people I want to help.
Glenn: Okay, so what do you think’s keeping them up at night? If we’re planning from the customer’s point of view, what’s the conversation that’s going on between the partners? What’s keeping them awake at night? What’s their biggest fear?
Jerome: I would have to say money. It’s just not enough. Maybe they have kids in school. Maybe they have mortgage payments, cars, trips. Maybe they lost a job or a spouse, or divorce – anything like that. And then all of a sudden, what’s keeping them up is, “How will I pay my bills? What do I do to pay my next bill? Or send my kid to school? Or to send my kid to camp?” Things like that. So really, I think it has to do with money. They’re afraid, and they don’t know what to expect.
Glenn: Okay. So we could create a group called the “Refinance, Rightsizing Realtor Group” or something, where your niche is so broadly spread, it’s just spelled out to somebody. When they find you, they’re like, “Oh. He’s the guy who specializes in refinancing my home so I can pay off all my high-interest credit card debt and get a little bit of breathing room.” Or maybe, “I need to refinance, and maybe also rightsize my home to a smaller home so I don’t have to worry about money anymore.” Does that resonate with you at all?
Jerome: I think, obviously, that first part might lean towards too much of a mortgage broker, so I’m kind of staying away from that. I would like more of the people who want to downsize, who don’t know that they could downsize and come out with, “Oh, if I downsize I can have ‘x’ amount of money, and I can put that towards a condo, or I could put that towards a nest egg, or maybe I even go out and rent.” Those are the type of people I think I’d be looking at. Those are what I’ve actually helped in the past few months or few years, and they’re really appreciative. Those are the people I think I’m looking at right now – the ones who are worried about the money who maybe can’t even refinance. It’s not worth it for them to refinance their own home. It’s important for them
to be able to survive without losing their home, or losing that home that they were in.
Glenn: Right. Do you think that there’s a market for these people, if you were to position yourself as, “You know, you’re probably not going to be able to refinance this, but if we sell your place, pay off most of your debt, and I get you into a triplex or a fourplex, where you can still own it, but collect rent from other people.” Do you think there would be a market for the people that you deal with?
Jerome: The people that I deal with, a lot of them don’t want to be the landlord. They’re a landlord for themselves, and they’re kind of tired. I’ve noticed a lot of them have actually gone from a house to an apartment or a condo, where they don’t have to worry about the grass cutting. They don’t have to worry about the snow in the wintertime. They don’t have to worry about the roof, the windows, the trees falling on their roofs. That’s more downsizing, but also, I’ve had people who moved from condos to a smaller condo that’s less money, so they can take out some of their money from their condo and purchase a smaller condo. Someone went from 1,000 square feet down to a 600 square foot unit. We tried that as well. I’ve put a couple people in triplexes, and you have to be special to be a landlord.
Glenn: Okay, so what if we just made it the “Downsizing, Debt-Reduction” guy?
Jerome: Yeah, that sounds good.
Glenn: We’ve got to come up with some catchy phrase. That’s just a working title. And a lot of times, people don’t use “downsize.” They use “rightsize” now, because it’s more positive than downsizing. But what if we were to theme it on, what would they do with that extra money, and with less stress? What if we used that as the carrot, and then worked it back to where that’s where they would accomplish it?
Jerome: Yeah. Yeah, I see that. I see that a lot of the people want to be safe with themselves, and they want to put away a little bit of money (most of the time for a child or children). I have a $1,000,000 house. I have $500,000 in debt. I pay off the debt. I have $500,000. I buy another place for maybe $300,000 or $400,000. I have another $100,000 that I can put away for a nest egg. Plus they still have that house, or the condo, which will be paid off. So I believe that’s where a lot of them are putting their money. Or they’re just breaking even as they’re paying everything off, but they still actually have a house, without having a payment on their house.
Glenn: Right. So which freedom is most important to these people – more freedom of money? Freedom of time? Freedom of relationship to spend with people they care about? Or freedom of purpose – to live the life by design? What do you think would be the strongest pull, if we held that carrot of freedom?
Jerome: Not to worry about money. Financial pressures.
Glenn: Okay. Right.
Jerome: That would be the number one. And then after that, obviously it falls into place where you’re living a life by design. If you don’t have any financial issues, you can then start living the way you’re supposed to be living.
Jerome: Not being kept up at night saying, “How will I pay Enbridge?” (Or the hydro, or whatever it is. Rogers – things like that).
Glenn: Right. So what if we could paint a picture for these people of, this is like the re-birth of their second life almost? Do you know what I mean? “Okay. You’ve had the first life, worked hard, did this, but you’re still lying awake at night going, “How am I ever going to have enough money for retirement? Or even afford my bills this month or two?” And then we can almost do a launch of their second life, right? We’ve rightsized them into the right place, they’ve got some money in the bank, and now they’re starting to live happily ever after in their brand new life.
Jerome: So you’re asking how we can find them?
Glenn: Well, yeah. We just have to position it. We have to come up with something catchy enough, that when they find your Facebook business page, or you market to them, they’re like, “Oh, this guy knows exactly what my problem is, and it looks like he’s helped other people do it. I should probably call him, because my problem is so unique.” They just think they’re the only one going through this – not like 100,000 other people have got the same problem. “This Jerome guy seems to have the solution for everything that’s keeping me awake at night.” That’s the way that we give them the unique service offering. Our value-add to them is, we know exactly what you’re thinking, because we planned it from your mind, and we just delivered it up on a plate to you. You sit there and go, “Wow. Who knew? I’m thirsty, walking through the desert, and someone shows up with a bottle of water for sale. What are the odds of that?”
Jerome: Yeah.That’s exactly where I want to go. That’s how I want it to work.
Jerome: But right now, we have lots of Facebook pages – all different things. One of them I actually do have is “Finding Home in Toronto.” Just finding home – finding your home. Finding home. That’s really what it comes down to, is just finding someone home, finding someone peace. Something that they can enjoy, and have no worries. It would be a lot easier if we could say, “Finding Home in Jamaica,” or “Finding Home in Miami,” but it’s “Finding Home in Toronto.” I want everyone to find a home. And not so much as in the house itself – it’s, this is where you found. You found yourself here.
Glenn: Right. Almost like “The Peaceful Homeowner in Toronto,” or something like that.
Jerome: Yeah. Exactly.
Glenn: I think that’s what people really want, is peace, if you really dig into it. Why do you want to get out of debt? Why do you want to downsize? What they’re really looking for is just peace – peace of mind. Freedom not to worry about money all the time.
Jerome: Yeah. We put them in their biggest debt, but we can also show them how to get out of their biggest debt.
Glenn: Right. So where do you think these people are living right now? Where could we target them? I know you’re based in Toronto, but where do you think they are right now? If we were going to go target them, are we going to go through social media? Are we going to do Internet targeted ads? Are we going to do mailers? Are we going to do a seminar series? Where do you think these people are that we could get them to come and show up at a seminar or a webinar?
Jerome: I’ve been doing this research for awhile, trying to find out where and how. At this very moment, they’re all over. They are all over. They are downtown, suburbs – anywhere you can think of. You don’t know who your next-door neighbour is. You don’t know what their issues are, whether it’s a job loss, whether it’s a death in the family, a birth – it could be anything! You have no idea. They are everywhere and anywhere. And then I had a look at the ages. What are the ages? Are they 80-year-olds? 60-year-olds? 40-year-olds? 20-year-olds? Now, it’s not so much the 20-year-olds. It usually starts around 30. Probably around 35 or so would be the early end, but they go all the way up to 80. I’d like to narrow that down a little bit more, but there are different types of it. There’s someone who really wants to downsize (or I guess you could say rightsize right now), who might be that 70-80-year-old. And that’s more the true downsize. But then there’s someone who got over their head at 40. They bought a house or bought a condo at 40 years old, and by 45 maybe now has a kid or a wife – one kid, two kids, three kids – and they’re over their head.
Jerome: So it really could be anywhere – and I’m going to still say 35 might be a little bit on the lower side – between 40 and 75. The more I think, the more I look at my stats I have, and the people I’ve helped, they’ve been in that range. I’ve had a 50, a 48-year-old. I had a 68-year-old. I’ve had a 72-year-old, doing this exact same thing. Yeah, that’s the ages, I believe.
Glenn: Okay. So the only challenge for that is that what a 40-year-old needs or what a 35-year-old needs is probably different than a 70 or 80-year-old, so it’s very hard to get a uniform message. Maybe a 70 or 80-year-old is more worried about downsizing to get money to pay for long-term care. A 40-year-old is looking for money just to get out of debt right now.
Jerome: Yeah. Exactly. That’s been the top challenge, because I think I’m trying to put it all in one, and it really isn’t. It is by age group.
Glenn: Well, couldn’t we just do two? Couldn’t we have two separate niches going? Or three, within this? You don’t have to settle on one. One could be, we could call some financial planners and maybe do a joint exercise with them, because they’re going to know. They have the people already that probably have some money or have some investments. They would also be the one who would benefit the most from them downsizing, and then them giving the money to the financial advisor to invest for them. So one approach could be maybe that 40-50-year-old market, where what they really need is to downsize, get money out, start saving for retirement, worry about that, and do something with financial advisors. And then that 70-80-year-old is more about, should you go to a condo? Should you go rent right now? What are the pros and cons? Could you do a tour of condos for them, where you can show them the different condo options? That’s the bait. What we’re really trying to design on this call is the bait that’s going to get someone to put up their hand and call you and go, “I think you could solve my selfish problem.”
Jerome: Yeah. And I actually have that as 40-50, and then pretty much a 50-75, because I think that 50-75 might almost be in that same category. I mean, I felt to split it as 40-55, and 55-75, because there are two different needs there. Their conversation, or in their head at night time going to sleep will be a little bit different. The main is going to be, yes, “Money, money, money.” But one will be money to get out of debt, “But I still want to survive and buy another house and move on and still grow,” where the 50-75 or the 55-75-year-olds are more, “I’m okay. I’ve done what I had to do, and now I just want to make sure I’ve got enough to survive later on.”
Glenn: Right. So what if we put it to 40s – 35-45? I think 35-45 is, “Just had kids. Lots of expenses. Don’t know if I can make ends meet here. Maybe we’ve got to move to a smaller place so I can save for their university, their sports, all their activities.”
Glenn: 45-55 is, “Okay, I’m in the peak earning years right now, and my kids are almost finishing university or getting really close to it. Do we really need this 3,000-square foot house? Or could we go to a 1,600 square foot?” 55-65 I think is really your downsizer market. “Okay, all my kids have graduated university. They’re starting to have grandchildren now. I want to be near them, but I also want to travel more while my knees still work and hips still work.” And then you’ve got that 65-80 market, which is really just health-dependent now.
Glenn: There are some 80-year-olds who can run a great life, and they look like they’re 60 and they’re going to be in their house for the next 20 years, right?
Jerome: By the same token, I’ve actually started doing research into downsizing and closing of houses. So this is separate. Same thing with what this is, but a little separate. It’s preliminary right now, but we’re trying the cleaning up of your house.
Jerome: So that’s something else I have thrown in. I’m doing that as a partner with somebody else, trying to figure all that out and see if that will work, too. Obviously that’ll help me with the moving part of it, but really helping people. And that’s more the downsizing itself, from theirs to maybe a home – not to even a condo. So they’re different. It’s the same, but we’re going to have to separate them, I think, as in 10 years apart, like you were saying. I think the 10-year parts might make a difference.
Glenn: Yeah. I mean, the crazy thing is, when you really start looking in niches, there’s a good, probably, 100 niches just within those four age groups.
Jerome: Oh yeah.
Glenn: Everyone’s got different problems. I did a podcast with Sharon Parenteau, and I don’t know if you’ve heard it? What she does is she just downsizes seniors via seminar, and then brings them on group tours, because they like to travel in groups. She rents a bus or rents a van, and then does individual consultations. But what she’s leading with is the decluttering angle. It’s the decluttering seminar – not the downsizing seminar anymore. See, because when you do a downsize seminar, then people think there’s a sale in there – that’s why you’re doing it. The decluttering is making your life better, and the reason you’re decluttering is because you don’t need all that stuff. And then you start to realize you don’t need that big house anymore, and then you move. So it’s really going after the declutter. Have you read the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?”
Jerome: No I have not.
Glenn: Okay. There’s a book by Marie Kondo, who is a Japanese decluttering specialist, and she has this life-changing book about how you go from section to section in your house, not room by room. “Okay, start with your socks. Which ones do you use? Which ones don’t you? Thank them for their service, wish them well, pass them on.” It’s this whole mindset she has about the clearing of your clutter by categories is really the clearing of your mind. Great book – “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I wonder if we could even offer that to a Facebook page, or even send her a note and say, “Listen. I really love your book. I want to be able to give it away to 100 people. Can we work some deal out or something? Or can I do an interview with you that I could send out to my database?” This is what we’ve got to try, on that one segment.
Jerome: Yeah, yeah.
Glenn: So many fun little niches here, but we’ve only got three minutes left, Jerome.
So let’s just pick one age category, and we’ll try to do some magic in the next couple
minutes, and then we’ll take it from there.
Jerome: 50-65 – that 15-year mark. Some of them have gotten to travel, and their house. That type of person who’s not ready to downsize, but not ready to move on.
Glenn: Right. So the big fear they’re going to have is shame, right? That’s what their emotion is right now, and there’s a lot of money anchoring around that shame. We have to do the private, confidential theme with those people all the time, because they don’t want anyone else to know. Publicly, they look great on the outside, but inside, it’s chaos.
Jerome: Yeah, that’s exactly it.
Glenn: I would do something like “The Homeowner’s Guide to Stress-free Living by Rightsizing or Refinancing.” Actually do a guide. You can Google all this stuff. What if you could give a free book away? All they had to do was just download it from your site. It’s a PDF. You can do it pretty quickly. It only has to be one or two pages, but then you capture their email address, where you then can now drib onto them afterwards.
Jerome: Offer a free book, or a manual, I guess you could say?
Glenn: It’s PDF. A two-page PDF. Whatever you can do in order for you to capture their email address. You have to create some value so that someone goes, “Yeah, I want that. I’m going to put my hand up.” You could even do lists, right? “The Top 10 Ways to Get Out of Debt, Rightsize Your Home, and Live Stress-Free.”
Jerome: That’s good. That sounds good.
Glenn: It would be pretty easy, right? You could just Google that stuff. I’m sure someone’s done, “Oh, here’s another way. Here’s another way. Here’s another tip.”
Jerome: Put it together.
Glenn: Yeah. Dave Ramsey has a book named “Financial Peace,” and he has developed a four-step way where you start paying your highest credit card debt first. Then you slowly snowball the payments to make sure that gets done, and then you start getting rid of your mortgage. And eventually, you get debt free. So it starts with getting rid of debt, then saving three month’s salary, then saving one year’s salary, then paying down the mortgage. Because what they’ve found is when someone can pay down their mortgage, they’re basically going to be safe for about 5-8 years. If something happened, they could probably sell their house and live on that money for 5-8 years. But it all starts with paying the highest credit card debt first.
Glenn: What if you read that book, and then took some of those tips out and did a summary sheet also? The first one is, “Here’s how to do it.” The second one is “Here are some tips from Dave Ramsey.” Number three, “By the way, I’m going to be doing a seminar in my office,” (or an anonymous webinar). You can come in, you can go to zoom.us and you can get a free video broadcast platform. And you could have 100 people in on that zoom. All you’re trying to do is go wide right now to get to that target by giving them free stuff. “Here’s more value, here’s more value, here’s more value. Oh, by the way, here’s more value.” Give, give, give; then you ask. Give, give, give; then ask.
Jerome: So what would you say – with that target market, would you then say do Facebook advertising? Or would you do Google ads? You look at certain age groups and some people, the younger ones, obviously, aren’t on Facebook as much as they used to be. They’re more Instagram, and the older people are on Facebook right now.
Glenn: Absolutely. I think you can do both, because you can cross it from Facebook over to Instagram pretty quickly. I would probably target – I think you’re right – most 55-65-year-olds are on Facebook right now. That’s where the market is. And I don’t think it’d be too tough. I think you could run your ad on Kijiji, because Kijiji lists high on Google search, right?
Jerome: Yes, it does. It does a lot.
Glenn: Right. So get that ad going, so that when someone Googles, “refinance my house,” up comes your ad on Kijiji that says, “Here’s my free guide to rightsizing, paying off debt, and living a great life. Download it here. Here’s the link.” Now you have their email address, and you can do the next drip. And then from there, you’re just going to start building your pipeline of people. And this is going to set you up, if you do it right, for the third and fourth quarter of this year – but more importantly, you’re going to be flying in the first quarter of next year.
Jerome: Alright! Very good. Very exciting.
Glenn: Make sense?
Jerome: Makes a lot of sense!
Glenn: Alright. Well, you’ve got to keep me posted on how this goes, but it’s all up to you now, just to get into action about it, and just really plan it as if you’re sitting there. Next time you’re out talking, and you notice someone between 55 and 65, and they say, “How’s real estate?” you go, “Oh, it’s really great, and I’ve started this new program to help people between 55 and 65 get out of debt, rightsize their home, and have a stress-free life.” And they’ll be like, “Really? Well tell me more about it.” And now you can start gathering the information. It’s a much better dialogue to have than with someone who’s like, “How’s real estate?” and you’re like, “Oh, it’s great. We’re really busy” – the typical realtor response.
Jerome: And it’s a great segue. No, it’s wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you very much, Glenn.
Glenn: Well thank you, Jerome. Thanks for being on my podcast. We’ll talk to you soon, okay?
Glenn: See you! Bye bye.