“20 Minutes of Successful Niche Secrets – EPISODE 57,”
Where I coach Sung Choi to help him maximize on his strengths in Real Estate, before he even gets started
Glenn: Hi! It’s Glenn McQueenie, and welcome to my 25-Minute Success Series Podcast. Today we have someone who is just going through the licensing program – so hasn’t even got licensed yet – but is keen to build a really great real estate career by trying to figure out which niche market is going to work best for him. So today, we have Sung Choi from Markham, Ontario (and Markham’s just a little north of Toronto, for those who want to understand the geography). So welcome to the call, Sung!
Sung: Thank you, and thank you for having me.
Glenn: Oh, it’s my pleasure! I’m very excited. I wish someone was coaching me like this when I was getting my license program. It would have been a lot easier than 30 years ago when I started, and there really wasn’t a lot of coaching and training. It was just, “Get out there and go knock on doors and phone people, and hope for something.” So I’m really excited about today’s call, because I think we’re really going to do some fun stuff. So tell me where you are right now – what part of the process? How far are you away from being licensed?
Sung: I am studying the transgression general and transgression residential courses. I’m booked in for the exam by at least September. Normally I would have booked it earlier, but now is summer and I have to do some traveling, so I allow more time for myself.
Glenn: Sure! Well, you’ve got to rest up before you dive into this career. So when do you think you’ll be officially licensed and ready to start to trade? How long from now?
Sung: I think I will have the license before the end of the year.
Glenn: Perfect. Okay. So there’s a reason you got into real estate. Who would you like to serve? Who would you like to be a hero to and help out in real estate?
Sung: I will talk to people who want to buy houses or sell houses, or any real estate. I will introduce them to available properties that meet their requirements. I’ll find out their needs and wants. I will then match them up with the available properties, and I will give them an idea of the recently closed deals so that they have an idea of what’s available out there. I would very much like to help them and give them the best service that I can.
Glenn: And what’s important about that to you? Why are you coming into real estate?
Sung: Because I read in the newspaper and in the news media that the real estate market is quite active in Toronto and the Markham area, so there’s a lot of opportunities, and I would like to put my efforts into doing good and helping everybody get their best deal. It’s important to me because I like to contribute in the process – and in the meantime, make a living.
Glenn: Right. And what did you do before real estate? What was your career before?
Sung: I was in engineering – technical sales. I enjoyed that as well. I matched customers (mostly industrial, institutional clients) with technical equipment needs, and I matched their specifications with the manufacturer’s product. So I believe with my skills and experiences in technical sales, I am well prepared with the background for a successful career in real estate.
Glenn: Right. Having that background, it’s probably a fairly logical profession, right? It’s a lot of, “Here are the technical specs.” “Here’s the logical problem-solving.” There’s not a lot of emotion in it, really.
Sung: In technical sales, it’s mostly technical and logical, so it’s different from real estate in the emotional respect. I will do some training for myself in handling the emotional aspect of the business.
Glenn: Yeah. I just wonder if you have to? I’ll tell you, in my 30 years, it certainly is an emotional business. There are times when you need to bring all of the emotional intelligence you have to try to put a deal together, because we are dealing with human beings, not robots. I wonder, with your background, what if we were to focus more on logical thinkers, and less on emotional thinkers?
Sung: Sure. Yes, I would like to deal with logical thinkers as well. That’s what I was trained to do, but I realize in the consumer’s market, or advertising, or the media, there are a lot of emotional aspects of the consumers. The consumer’s not always logical, so we need to take care of the emotional needs and wants as well.
Glenn: For sure. In your previous career in sales, did you get along with engineers really well? And technical writers? Computer people? Did you feel that you could get along with them a lot quicker or easier than someone who is maybe on the other side of the spectrum?
Sung: Yes. I get along with logical people really well. In industrial sales, there’s not a lot of emotion, so I have to say I don’t have a lot of experience dealing with emotions.
Glenn: That’s perfect. I mean, I think that’s the beautiful thing, because the whole thing about finding your own niche market in real estate is about just bringing who you are right now, and then matching it to a target customer in order for you to do a lot of transactions. This whole notion that people have to work on their weaknesses, I think is silly. I think it’s one of those things that if we could just keep you in your logical, technical brain, and we just attracted more of those technical, logical thinkers – because you already said you get along with those people really well – then I think you’re going to have a lot of success in real estate if you just focused on that one target market. Does that make sense?
Sung: Sure. Yeah, that makes sense.
Glenn: Right. So what if we were to do something like this? What I’ve learned with people who are high logic thinkers is they really rely on the data to make their decision, not on the emotion of it. They’re data-driven. They don’t really trust what you say. It’s almost like, “Prove it to me.” And if the data makes sense, then they’ll go ahead with it. Does that make sense?
Sung: Sure, yes. It makes sense.
Glenn: Yeah. So why don’t we go after engineers (logistics people) in Markham and Unionville who are thinking about moving? What if we focused all of our marketing efforts on just getting them into our sphere of influence?
Sung: Sure. Yeah, that sounds right. That makes sense. I would like to target and find all the engineers and technical people around Markham.
Glenn: Right. What if we created a Facebook page called “The Engineer’s Guide to Buying Your First Home in Markham.” And all we did on that page was put data, stats, logical things – any type of data point – because they’re going to build their own Excel spreadsheet about this anyway. They’re already going to be gathering all of the data points necessary. If we were to get so niche-y in our target market, who would go to that page?
Glenn: That’s right. So that’s why I think it’s a really cool idea. Or if you were to go to any of the engineering companies that are based in Markham and talk to their Human Resources professional and said, “Listen. Here’s what I’d like to do. I’d like to come to your company. I’ll bring the food” (whether it be pizza or whatever the food is that you think they’re going to eat for lunch), and do a “Lunch & Learn” for the engineers at these big companies. And you take an absolute logical approach to how you actually present your perspective on the market. You call it “The Engineer’s Guide to Buying Real Estate in Markham,” and that’s the name of your “Lunch & Learn” – your program. And you basically go in there and you say, “Okay. Where are you now? Where do you want to go? What data do you need from me that would help you make a great decision?” And then just give it right back to them. I think if you do that, they’re going to go, “Oh, this person gets me. They think just like me.” I think you’re going to be able to pick up a lot of customers that way.
Sung: Yes, that’s a good idea. Yeah.
Glenn: Yeah. And I’m sure there’s the Professional Engineer’s Association of Ontario, or something like that, that would have a list of all of the engineering companies that are based in Markham. And what I’ve found with a lot of corporations is they’re always trying to get their company to eat together, because it builds culture. When you break bread with somebody, it’s not just come in and do your work and go home. It creates more of a nice atmosphere, where people actually know each other. I think I would approach the Human Resources person that way. I would say, “Listen. What I want to do is really help you build your culture in your office. What I’m going to do is I’m willing to bring lunch, and we’ll do a one-hour ‘Lunch & Learn.’” We’ll start with, “Here’s an overview of the Toronto market” (and you’ll be able to get all of these stats from the Toronto Real Estate Board). “Here’s the overview of the market. Here’s my opinion. Here are the hot areas right now in the 905 area.” You can Google the best neighbourhoods in Unionville, the best neighbourhoods in Markham, the best neighbourhoods in Richmond Hill. All of that stuff is already on Google somewhere, but you could just put it together and say, “I’ve got to tell you – Main Street Unionville is one of the hottest areas right now, so if you can, be just off of Main Street Unionville,” or “Fred Varley is selling. The prices on Fred Varley are going up 12% higher.” “If you’re on the west side of Kennedy, prices are going up 22% quicker than if you’re on the east side of Kennedy.” I think that’s the kind of information that those people would probably want. Wouldn’t you think?
Sung: Yeah.Yes, they will be impressed by the numbers. If I can bring to them expertise, and show them that I know the market and know this stuff, they will see me as a value- adding person if I’m bringing to them value-added propositions. That’s a good idea. I’m jotting down all these points as we speak.
Glenn: Well the great thing here, Sung, is you’re going to get a recording of this, so you can listen to it all over again, too! So you’ll be able to take even more notes. I think the other thing you could do is even have a sub-niche inside of your engineer market, which is “The Engineer’s Guide to Buying Investment Properties.”
Sung: Yeah. Many engineers will have money that they would like to have maximum returns on in the Toronto hot real estate market. The news is pointing to the fact that the USA markets are going up from this point on. It has reached the bottom. So if I can guide them on where to invest for best returns in the USA, they will go along. Many of them will, I believe.
Glenn: Yeah. And what if you brought them out on a tour in a couple of weeks, or once you get licensed, and you said, “Hey, listen. By the way, this Saturday from 12-2, we’re going to be doing a tour of income properties, and I’m going to bring with me a home inspector who has an engineering degree. They’re going to walk you through all of the different properties and tell you what to be looking for. So you can bring your engineering background. We’ve got a home inspector there. I’ll give you the market update. They’ll tell you about the quality of the house. I can give you the cash flow numbers (the income and what the down payment’s going to be).” I think if you had that tour, and it became a weekly tour and was just you bringing engineers and a home inspector out to look at a bunch of properties, I think it would be a really great way to build your business.
Sung: Oh, yes. It sounds good. I will be interested in joining it.
Glenn: Yeah. So the way you have to think about this, and the reason I did my book, “The McQueenie Method,” is that it’s not about even changing anything. It’s all about just bringing you and your background, what you really like to do, and who you are, to a target market of people that you think you’re going to get along with really well, because you know how they think, you know the wisdom that they’re going to need, and you know the data points that you have to bring. Then they’re going to sit there and go, “Oh. You know what? Sung – he gets me. Every question I’ve had here, all the data I’ve ever wanted to buy a house – Sung’s given it all to me.” I’ve talked to other realtors who aren’t logic side, and they’re always like, “Oh, but the house has got to feel good.” They’re going to talk about, “Think about a great place to raise your family.” A lot of that stuff is very important, but for very logic-driven thinkers, it’s like, “Listen. We don’t trust anyone, except for the data. Give me the data. I’ll process it myself, and I can make the decision on whether or not to go for this.”
Sung: Sure. Yeah. Engineers like that. I will bring them the data.
Glenn: Yeah. So over the next couple of months, as you’re getting ready to finish off your license and stuff, I would read this book called “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor” by Gary Keller, because it’s a great book about the “why” they should be investing – not necessarily the “how.” There’s a group called the Real Estate Investment Network – “REIN.” You can just Google that. I would probably want to join one of those chapters so that you can brainstorm with other people who buy, fix, and flip, or buy and hold, or build their wealth through investment real estate.
Sung: That sounds very interesting. I’d like to find them.
Glenn: Yeah. And just find out what they do, because what you’re going to find is, you might even be able to create some additional wealth for yourself, also. What if you positioned yourself as, “Listen. I’m going to go and find every investment property in the 905 area. I’m going to pre-screen them. I’m going to only recommend the best properties to you. And then all I need from you is your capital. So you’re going to put up the money. I’m going to be your partner – 50/50 partner. I will find the property. I will run the property. I will rent it. I will property manage it, and I’ll repair it if it needs to be done. And we’re going to be 50/50 partners. And when we sell that property, you get your down payment back, and then we share the growth of the investment.”
Sung: Yes. Many engineers will like to participate in that. We have been hearing in the news that the condos are rising in price by 10%, so that’s better than many investments you get from paying fixed income investments.
Glenn: Absolutely. And you can show them how to get an even better return. In the old part of Richmond Hill, there are a lot of income properties right there where the cash on cash return (that’s a return just on your down payment) is anywhere from 17-26%. It’s a much higher return than on a condo. It doesn’t mean they can’t buy condos. But what you’re trying to do is position yourself as, “Listen. You guys are engineers. You make all your money as engineers. I’m a real estate agent. I make my money in real estate. So you guys just keep engineering, because I know you’re busy. You don’t have time, but you have money. What I’m going to do is take your money and make you even more money by building a bunch of passive streams of income, so that when you retire, or you don’t want to be an engineer anymore, you’ve got so much other income that you don’t even worry about it.”
Glenn: Wouldn’t that be fun?
Sung: Yeah, it will! That’s the way to get many of them interested in the business.
Glenn: Yeah. And I was talking to a group of investors just a little while ago. I was in this Mastermind with a whole bunch of investors. This one guy has done 22 of these joint venture projects together. I said to him, “How do you convince people that they have to put up the money, but that you’re going to do the rest of the work, and that you’re 50/50 partners?” I said, “Do you ever have a hard time convincing somebody?” He said, “Glenn, I just give this analogy.” It’s going to sound a little bit weird to you, Sung, but I think you’re going to get the point, okay? This is exactly the analogy he gave me. He said, “If you look at a man and a woman, the man has the sperm, and does a little bit of effort – five minutes of the sperm. But it’s the woman who has to carry that baby for 40 weeks. Then it’s basically stuck to her for a year. But they’re 50/50 owners. Who’s doing all of the work?”
Sung: The woman.
Glenn: Yeah!Isn’t that a great analogy? So he says, “So I just say to them, ‘Your money is just the sperm. I’m the one who now has to carry this baby, fix it up, get it ready to rent out, get all the returns, watch the money, repair it. I’m the one doing all the work, and that’s why we’re going to be 50/50 partners.’”
Sung: Wow. That’s interesting how he put this analogy to some of them.
Glenn: Isn’t it amazing? I love that one! So that’s what I would be doing. That’s my advice for you that I’d give you today. Just be trying to keep focusing on planning it. If you know an engineer, what’s keeping them awake at night if they’re thinking about buying a house? What’s their biggest fear? “Well, I don’t want to get ripped off.” “I don’t want to make a mistake.” “I don’t really trust agents.” If you just pretend you’re them, and every single objection they have in your mind, you just come up with the solution to it, so that when you present it to them, you get rid of every single one of their fears, then you get to win them over as a customer. But it all begins with you planning it from the customer’s point of view – not from your point of view.
Sung: Right. Good point, Glenn. I’m really glad you bring up this very important, very interesting point.
Sung: I’d like to learn all of them and put them in my head, so I can have a successful career.
Glenn: Yeah. Well I think you’re going to have a successful career, Sung. I think you’re going to do really well if you choose to focus in one niche. Now I’m not saying that’s all you do, but I’d argue right now that with 52,000 agents in the Toronto Real Estate Board, we don’t need just another average real estate agent who’s trying to be everything to everybody. What we do need is more professional real estate agents who know one market really well, and go really deep into that market. Because after all, the riches are in the niches, right?
Sung: Right. Good point. I will go for this investment engineers niche market.
Glenn: Yeah, I think that would be great. So do you have any other questions just before we wrap up? We’ve got just another minute or so left in our 25-Minute Success Series call.
Sung: That was very helpful. I was listening to the wise man giving me the best advice. I really thank you very much Glenn, for giving me the benefits of your 30 years of a successful career, and I will focus on this niche market to start from here. Thank you.
Glenn: Well, you’re very welcome, and I really encourage you now, as you’re waiting to get licensed, to just take time to learn about investment properties. If you have a friend who’s a realtor right now, they could maybe print off a list of all the investment properties that sold this year. You could get in your car and start driving around them, and seeing what the money really gets, because on those listings, you’re going to see what the income is, you’re going to see what the returns are, and you’re going to see what the sale prices are. The more you can be working on that, the faster start I think you’re going to get up to once you get your license later this year.
Sung: Okay. Yes, sounds good. I will do that.
Glenn: Okay. Thank you very much, Sung Choi, for joining me on the call today, and I hope we have just got you a little closer to finding your niche, and I really wish you all the best in your real estate career.
Sung: I really thank you very much, Glenn. Glad to have been here.
Glenn: Thanks, and we’ll talk to you soon, okay?
Sung: Thank you. Take care. Bye bye.