“20 Minutes of Successful Niche Secrets – EPISODE 50,”
Lead Generating the right way, with Glenn McQueenie
Glenn: Hi! It’s Glenn McQueenie, and welcome to my 25-Minute Success Series Podcast. Today, you just get me, because we’re going to be talking about, really, the big trend that I see in our industry, which is really about going back to the basics. I think we’ve gone through a period over the last couple years when everyone’s got a great idea of what real estate is supposed to look like, and I’m telling you right now, I think you might have it wrong. This is what I mean by that. It seems to be this trend where people are going to classes or seminars or searching the Internet, and they find out, “Oh, you know what? I’m going to go get all my leads from door knocking.” So they’ll go to a class, and they’re like, “Okay, for the next three weeks, I’m going to go and door knock.” Then, after about a week or two, their motivation falls off. At the same time, they find out about a new hack, which is, I think, Facebook targeted ads. So now they’ll jump into Facebook targeted ads, and start running that for awhile. And that doesn’t work. And then they’ll be like, “Oh, farming. I think I should probably go into geographic farming,” and they’ll start that up.
I guess I’m just here to tell you today that in my opinion, this business hasn’t changed a bit. It is really just a contact sport, and that requires everyone to go out and meet people. And some of that will require that you actually lead generate, but I think the way people lead generate (or the traditional ways of cold calling or door knocking or whatever) – I think they’re just gone. Nobody is waiting at home for you, going, “Oh, I just hope a realtor knocks on my door today.” I’ll guarantee you with their call blocking and “Do not call” lists, that reaching people on their landline – and even getting landline numbers – is almost impossible.
So I just want to change the conversation a bit about what lead generation is really about. Lead generation, to me, is about trying to find people who are similar to you, who have similar mindsets, values, beliefs, and goals. If you make decisions quickly, you’re going to love working with people who make decisions quickly. If you value integrity, you’re going to love people with high integrity. What you’re really looking at there on your lead generation platform is you. That’s what it boils down to. You’re looking for people who are just like you, because if you look back on some of the easiest or best deals, or your favourite deals, probably the first thing that will stand out in your mind is, “I really liked working with those people. We got along really, really well. They were so easy to deal with.” The deals that you’re going to find the toughest are when you have to change who you are to try to match the personality of the person that you’re trying to do this deal with. It’s no different than if you’re going to lead generate. You should lead generate based on who you are, not on who the person in the office who’s doing really good at that is, and then trying to be like them. You’re not like them. You won’t be like them. What you’re seeing, also, is their outsides. You’re not really seeing their insides. That’s a big problem right now, because a lot of us tend to compare our insides (what we’re thinking), to the outsides of others, and you really don’t really know what other people are thinking. Even when they’re telling you what they’re doing, I’m telling you there’s sometimes a little puffery or bravado on what their actual true numbers are.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is lead generation is about you being you, because everyone else is taken. If you understand that premise, then all you have to do is bring your natural strengths, what you’re already good at, what you’re passionate about, and what you’re interested in, and just try to figure out the market that is looking for you. What do you love to do? Who do you love to hang out with? I know some people in our brokerage and they get all their business from their hockey team, so I would just say to them, “Join more hockey teams.” Or they get it from their Bridge club, or their curling club, or their golf club, or their book club, or their wealth-building club. There is a club out there for you right now. And if there isn’t – well, even better! That means you have no competition, and you get to create the club yourself.
At the end of the day, I’d like you to build your lead generation platform based on evidence of what buyers and sellers really want, instead of what we think they want. I find the best source of evidence for that is the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report, because what they do is they serve about 100,000 buyers and sellers, and they ask them a whole bunch of questions like, “What was it like dealing with an agent? How many agents did you deal with? How long did you look for a home? What did you like the most about agents?” So I just want to share a little bit of those results, because I’d like for you to build your platform based on evidence, not on speculation.
So let’s just look at this. For example, according to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 79% of recent buyers found their real estate agent to be a very useful information source, but 88% of them started their search online. So what’s happening is they’re going online first. They’re doing all the base work, and then as they get closer, near the end of the process, they start connecting with a realtor to help them bring their dream over the finish line. But here’s what I find really interesting: 72% of buyers chose to work with the first realtor that they met. That fact sounds crazy. It might not be your experience, but that is the fact. The whole point is that if you just get in front of a buyer, you have a 7 out of 10 chance of doing a transaction with them. And then interestingly enough, on the seller side, 74% of sellers contacted only one agent before finding the right agent to work with to sell their home, which means (going back to what I started this call with), that real estate’s a contact sport. If you can just get in front of somebody, you have a 74% chance of getting that listing, or for every 10 listing appointments you go on, at 7.4 of them, you will be the only agent that they’re talking to.
It’s amazing, isn’t it? I think our perception is that sellers are interviewing tons of agents. And some of them do (it’s a very small percentage of it) – but most of us are just trying to get through life. We’re busy. We’ve got hectic schedules. It’s crazy. And then it’s like, “Oh, we’ve got to buy a house.” It’s like, “We’ve got a crazy life, and then we’ve just got to add the layer of searching for a home and buying a home.” And this is telling me that the clear majority – 74% of buyers – are going to probably work with the first agent they find who can solve their selfish problem.
So how do we actually do that? Well, it all begins with your lead generation – and it’s not three hours a day, cold calling people you don’t know, like, or trust. It’s actually only working with people who you already know, or working with people who know other friends of yours. There’s a really interesting stat, too, on how sellers found their agent: 64% of sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend, neighbour, or relative, or used the agent they had worked with before. That tells me 6.4 times out of 10, you can’t even get the listing if you don’t know them. So the game is, just get to know them, and get to know as many people as you can, and get your word out that you’re in the real estate business. But you’re going to find the way you attract people is just by being yourself, and finding people with similar interests and needs and aspirations to you. Going down to the buyer process, I think 42% of buyers found their agent by way of a referral. That’s a really high number, considering when buyers are out looking, they’re just looking for properties – they’re not looking for agents. The fact that they’re going to be streaming through all these different properties, looking at all these properties – yet still, 4 out of 10 of them end up working with someone who was referred to them is a pretty amazing number. I like these stats, and there are tons of them. Let me just give you one more stat. When they polled the buyers, they said, “What were the benefits of working with a realtor to buy a home?” 60% of them said that they helped the buyer understand the process. 56% said that the agents pointed out unnoticed features or faults with the property. 47% said the big value was they negotiated better sales contract terms. 46% was they already had a great list of service providers, like a home inspector, a bank, and a lawyer. Their allied resource team made it so much easier for them to work with, which was a big thing for these buyers. So if you want to increase your perceived value in front of your buyers, you just have to build a good allied resource team. And 38% said they felt that the agent negotiated a better price for the home.
And what were the traits that they were looking for when they were picking an agent? Well, number one, which is 19%, said the agent is honest and trustworthy. Then it went to the agent’s experience – 17%. Then 17% said the reputation of an agent. 15% said they liked the fact that the agent was a friend of a family member, and only 8% of them said it was the knowledge of the neighbourhood. This is really, on the buyer side, what buyers are looking for from you. It says predominantly, buyers wanted help finding the right home to purchase – that was 52%, followed by help negotiating the terms – 13%, and help with the price of negotiations. These were the top three things, and they’re consistent among first-time buyers and repeat buyers alike. So what if, as your positioning statement, or when someone says, “Why should I work with you?” you said, “Well, the reason most buyers work with me is because I want to help them find the right home to purchase, I’m going to negotiate the right terms of sale, and I’m really going to help you with the price negotiations. And on top of that, I’m going to keep you safe through the entire real estate transaction.” That’s big! Why don’t we just give the market what they’re looking for instead of trying to figure out what the actual market is looking for and trying new marketing ideas and new tricks and all these things? Why don’t we just go back to the basics, and understand that this is actually not just a real estate transaction; it’s a human transaction filled with emotions – filled with joy, filled with pain, filled with worry, filled with fear, filled with incredible happiness. What if we just started showing up with our clients now, every buyer and seller, the same way we would show up if they were our best friend? If I was meeting with my best friend who called me over to sell their house, I wouldn’t go over there with a 48-page PowerPoint presentation. I wouldn’t say, “We’re scheduled for 20 minutes, and if you don’t list with me then I’m walking out this door.” I wouldn’t be getting them to sign a listing agreement within the first five minutes. I’d probably just go over there and show up like a human being, and say, “How are you? How are you doing? Tell me a little bit about what you’re thinking about doing here. What are your biggest fears and aspirations here? What do you think the biggest opportunity is for you? What are some of the strengths of your existing home? I’m sure you’ve got a lot of questions for me, and I’m really here, for the next hour or so, just to answer as many questions as I can.” I think I would do the same thing if I’m meeting up with a buyer. If a buyer contacts you online to go and see a house, just go show them the house. Now, a lot of agents will say to me, “Yeah, but what if they’re not qualified? I don’t want to waste my time. I can’t be running around all the time!” Most of the people who say that are not doing anything else anyway. Because their attitude sucks so much, they don’t have a lot of clients, so they start going into scarcity and they start really guarding their time. I’m like, “Why don’t you show up as a human being?” – “Hi, how are you?” Going out to meet a friend today. Show them the house, engage in friendly conversation. Talk to them the same way you would your best friend. Judge them innocent until they prove themselves guilty. The fact that our industry is still telling people “Buyers are liars, and sellers are even worse” just tells me the mindset of maybe 20, 30, 40 years ago is still relevant in some teachers’ minds. I just choose to believe that all buyers and sellers are great people, and that they’re innocent until they prove otherwise, because I’m not looking just at them in this transaction – I’m actually looking past them. They know 400 people, and the way I show up at that listing presentation or the buyer consultation, or show up to buy them a home, and maybe invite them to go out for a coffee afterwards, is that they are the gatekeepers. They will decide if they open that door and let you in to the other people they know who are thinking about buying or selling.
So what I really want to say to you today is just, let’s slow down the process a little bit. Let’s go back to the basics. Let’s just understand that real estate is a contact sport. It requires you to do lead generation, but it should never feel like lead generation. It should feel like you’re networking with groups of people you like, because you’re building tribes of people that you really, really like. And what you’ll find is, when you find the first great person (if you do a great job, I mean), 95% of the time, they’re going to refer someone else who’s just as great as them, because birds of a feather flock together. So your job in the next quarter is how can I get out of feeling (for some agents) very isolated and stressed out in what their current situation is right now, and just go and show up and start talking to people and meeting people and telling them what you do? And it doesn’t mean that you walk around asking for referrals. You don’t wear a button that says, “I heart referrals.” It means you show up like a human being, and when someone asks you, “How’s the business?” or “How’s real estate?” you don’t say, “Oh, it’s great. It’s really busy. It’s amazing.” That’s the biggest mistake agents make, because subconsciously (which is what most communication is), what you’re telling them is you don’t need their help. Why don’t you show up, and when they ask you about how the market is, tell them it’s great, and start telling a story about someone just like them who you just helped. Then ask them if they know of anyone else who’s looking that you could help (that same type of person), because as I said before, birds of a feather will always flock together.
So what I’m saying in this podcast today, and the reason I didn’t want to have a guest on is I just wanted to get real with you. Just understand that you’re perfect the way you are. You’ve already got a lot of the attributes of a very successful agent, and my job is to try to make you even more successful, even if you are having great success. And that starts with just lining up who you are to your marketplace, because once you line up a niche market that you want to go and work in, you’re going to find that you really love what you do. You’ll also get into what we call the high retention game. In the high retention game, you’re retaining people because you’re offering them something unique that none of the other realtors are doing. That’s what the definition of your niche is. If you’re the only one doing it, then it’s a niche. If everyone else is doing it, you’re just a commodity. I’d also add it’s highly profitable and rewarding when you work with perfect-fit clients, because you just get to focus on adding value to your client constantly, instead of trying to copy what every other agent is doing. The best thing about your niche is that the niche market customer comes to you. Instead of chasing those people that you don’t know, like, or trust, you’re actually just attracting people who you either know, or they know someone who knows you. They’ve already told them that you’re awesome, so they’re going to show up trusting you, and your job is just to fulfill their selfish need of buying or selling a home. The other thing you get is a high degree of customer satisfaction, because they start to tell all their friends about you. No need to ask for referrals. They’ll just come to you because you’re serving them at such a high level. Also, your marketing and branding costs drop to zero. I always love when agents come to me about, “Oh, I’ve got to build a brand. Do you like my branding? Do you want to do this?” I’m like, “I want your character. Your character is going to determine your brand.” You could have the highest, best glossy material out there, but if you’re an idiot, you’re an idiot. If you’re a high character person who comes from contribution in the servant mindset of helping people and focusing on their needs instead of your own, they can sense it, and they’ll know it, and they’ll start telling everybody about you. And more importantly, you build your own self-brand. That is your self-brand, is your character. It’s not your brokerage brand. When you have a character brand, it means you can leave whatever brokerage you’re at whenever you want, because you’re the brand, not the company.
I really encourage you, just over the next 90 days, to focus on trying to figure out who your perfect customer is. Who’s your ideal client avatar? Now, I’m not saying this is the only customer you deal with. I’m just saying that every week now, 20% of your time is focused on just getting those people and attracting them, and 80% of your week, you still keep doing what you’re doing. What you’re going to find is, as your niche market grows and your tribe is growing and people are coming to you, you’re going to be so busy that you won’t probably even have a chance to serve all the other, “I do everything for everybody” customers, because you just won’t want to do it. It’s way more profitable when you’re just working with people who you really like, and they’re just like you, and they start telling all of their friends about you. The coolest thing about this is your standards will start to raise, and you’ll start saying, “I only want to work with this person,” because your pipeline is so full that you don’t care anymore when someone you were working with decides not to buy, or when they’ve lost three or four multiple offers in a row, and they’re like, “Okay, I’m giving up.” That’s only a problem when you don’t have enough people in your pipeline.
So, I’m going to finish this call with this: just make a list of the 10 people who you know who are thinking about buying or selling. If it’s only two, make a list. But if it’s 10, all I want you to do over the next week or two is focus 80% of your efforts on the top two or three people who are most likely to do something, because when you get them into action, and you start doing transactions, you get into momentum, which energizes you and gives you lots of confidence. And then you start entering the world of deals falling onto your lap, instead of having every deal you touch just seem to fall apart.
Hope you enjoyed my little 20-minute conversation with myself! I hope you were listening. Have an amazing next quarter and look forward to my next podcast! Talk to you, now! Bye bye!