“20 Minutes of Successful Niche Secrets – EPISODE 61,”
Where I teach you how to determine your own success during this 100-Day Sprint
Glenn: Hi! It’s Glenn McQueenie, and welcome to my 25-Minute Success Series Podcast. Today I’m going to continue the theme of the 100-Day Sprint to make sure that you can have your best fourth quarter ever. The whole reason we’re doing a sprint is because traditionally, most realtors make most of their money in quarter two (from April to June 30th), and quarter three (from July 1st to the end of September). In fact, they usually make about 70-75% of their income during that time, and then have to carry themselves for the other six months.
So I really want to just change the game in real estate and think about it this way: what can we do right now to make sure we have the best fourth quarter – but more importantly – that it sets us up to have an amazing first quarter? And there’s also going to be a trailing effect into the second quarter. See, many of you don’t need that much help in the second and third quarter of next year, because that’s traditionally when the market moves. But what if you knew for sure that the real estate market was going to collapse on January 15, 2019? Now, I’m not saying it’s going to. I don’t think it will. But what if we just played the game right now that someone told us this is what’s going to happen on January 15, 2019? What would you do if you knew that for sure? Now, I think what most realtors would do would be, “I better get off my ass right now, and work even harder, and help even more families so that I can do a lot of deals into the fourth quarter and protect my finances and my family if that was to happen.” Because remember, it doesn’t really matter if the market goes up or down for us, as long as there’s volume, because we only get paid commission on the volume of the transaction. But we’re in a market right now (and I’m just talking about the Toronto market, and even the Canadian market right now), where volumes are off in the Toronto area almost 22% from 2016, trending towards 25%. What that means in sales is, instead of having 116,000 sales on this real estate board, or 232,000 ends, last year there was only 94,000 sales, or 186,000 ends. And this year we’re trending towards about 85,000, or 170,000 ends. So that’s a disappearance of over 60,000 transactions that agents can get paid on. And what happens is, the available commission pie (if you imagine it like an apple pie), shrinks down to the size of a bagel, and that’s the total amount of money that still has to be divided amongst all of the agents. So everyone’s market share starts to shift down. So you’re going to see people getting out of the business. You’re going to see other people discounting commissions. You’re going to see people doing whatever it takes in order for them to survive. The beautiful thing about this 100-Day Sprint is we’re just going to pretend that this market is going to shrink even more (and I hope it doesn’t). But I know if we can just follow some strategies that we’re going to talk about right now, we can almost bulletproof ourselves and our families from that ever happening to us.
So let’s just talk about some of the factors that you might want to be thinking about. We talked about the volume. We also have another case of missing inventory right now, where the listings are down almost 20-25% in many areas right now in Canada and the U.S. It’s almost like it’s disappeared. And it hasn’t really disappeared, it’s just in some areas, they haven’t been building for awhile, or a lot of people are living longer and staying in their houses, or some people just can’t afford to move right now with the prices or with the tighter lending rules. I think there are a lot of different factors, but I don’t really know what the clear, definitive answer is of why we have such fewer listings.
Here’s what my goal is in this podcast: over the next 100 days (so that’s going to bring us until just before the holiday season, around December 16, 17, 18, 19, depending on when you listen to this), I want you to just focus on, what are the three things that I can do right now to bulletproof my business, increase my sales, and increase my revenue over the next 100 days?
Number one – and I think this is the most important – is there’s never been a better time for you to build a big, huge moat around your existing client base, because we have some technologies that are going to be hacking in, we have some discount agents offering discount commissions who are trying to hack in and steal your clients, and we’re just going to have the normal competition of people trying to take your database. Well, it’s hard for people to be taken from your database if you’re in touch with them all the time. So we have to increase the frequencies of how many times we keep in touch with them. I think the best thing you can do over the next 30 days is pick 30 clients, and simply text them this message: “Hey, would you like to meet up for lunch, or would you like to go for a coffee next week?” If you want to, go for a beer – whatever it is that you need to do to just go and meet up with them. And you’re not going to meet up with them to go, “Hey, I need referrals. I need business.” You’re just going to re-connect with them so that you can stay top of mind in their real estate mind. But more importantly, they talk to and meet with a lot of people every week, and the more we’re top of mind, the easier it is for when one of their friends says, “Hey, I’m thinking about selling/buying.” They say, “Oh, you know what? I just met with my agent yesterday.” “I just talked with my agent the other day.” And it’s very easy for them to give you referrals. So I would certainly just quite simply text your past clients and say, “Hey, would you like to meet for a coffee next week?”
Number two is step up the number of drop-by visits. It’s a great time right now for you if you have any fall home shows coming up, or if there are any shows that you could invite your clients to. Or simply when you’re working in the neighbourhood, just add an extra 20 minutes or half an hour onto your trip so you can just stop by and say, “Hey, I was just driving by your house and I was thinking about you. How are you doing? No, no, I can’t come in. I just wanted to say hi quickly. Yeah, I’d love to get together for a coffee next week.” And there you go.
The other thing is, there’s a great two-question call you can do to everyone who’s bought over the last two years. A simple, two-question call that just says, “Hi! How are you?” (That’s the first question). And “How’s your home?” And what I’ve found is, when you can make those calls, and also when you go out for coffee with those clients, they fill your bucket because they say such amazing things to you. “Oh my God, it’s so great to see you! Thank you so much for helping us. We could never have done it without you. You’re amazing. You’re so awesome!” I think it just builds up your energy and your confidence more, when people are validating what you do and the impact that it had on their life. I don’t see any negative consequence to that. Everyone wants to feel good, and everyone wants to feel appreciated, and this is a great way for you to call your clients and make them feel appreciated. And then they make you feel appreciated. It’s kind of a win-win.
The next thing with touching base with your clients is really just the reconnection piece – just being reconnected into the relationship. If they bought a year ago or two years ago, they’re probably not going to be moving. But they’re in a world where a lot of their friends are moving every single day, so it’s just a great way for you to stay top of mind with your clients, right? So I want you to think about this as a great opportunity market, and think of you being an opportunity warrior. Because when markets shift (which they do), you have to understand it’s just a way of life. Markets are always in transition, and even within markets, there are transitions within those markets. For example, I’m recording this in Toronto right now, and if you own a condo in downtown Toronto, you’ve never felt any part of this shift, really. But if you’re in the 905, or the other area code outside of Toronto, there’s been a big shift on prices and volume and expectations, and just managing them over the last 18 months. Even within those markets, there are some markets (like townhouses), that are still doing relatively well. But the big, fat, detached homes aren’t. In downtown Toronto or in Midtown Toronto, you still have a big volume between $400,000 and $1.2 million or $1.3 million. But if you’re in a $2.5 million or $3 million house (which is basically a four-bedroom, 3,000-square foot house within 10 or 12 minutes to downtown), you can drive by and there’s sign after sign, street after street. It’s got just lots of signs and homes for sale, and they’ve been there for a long time. So just know that markets are always in transition.
The other myth I just want to talk about or dispel right now is that markets determine your success – and they don’t. It’s your reaction to the market that determines your success. If you say, “Oh my God, the sky’s falling, and it’s just a bad market. I’m not going to do anything,” well, you’re entitled to that. But the reality is, it doesn’t really matter what the market’s doing; it matters what you’re focusing on. What are the key activities and skills, and your top 20%, or your ONE thing that you just have to keep going all the time? Because here’s what I’ve learned: people buy and sell in all markets. Even in the worst time in the Toronto market, during 1990, 1991, 1992, when I was in it, there were still 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 people moving every single month. So that’s your job. You’re just going to have to meet more people, talk to more people, and build a bigger pipeline of people in order to get your unfair share of the market. Just be aware that if we’re in a down market, you just don’t have as many great deals – but those that are sell really, really quickly. So that’s why I’m saying it’s an opportunity market that we’re in right now.
The next step is to think about, how can I add more value to my clients? I’m just going to share some wisdom that I got from Dan Sullivan who’s one of my coaches at Strategic Coach. He talks about how we can add value in three ways. The first one is you add value to your clients through your leadership, just by providing direction to them, by sitting down with them and hearing them out, crafting an incredible strategy, telling them, “I’ve got this. I’ve been here before. I know exactly what to do. Here’s the blueprint. This is what we’re going to follow. This is how I did it with somebody else, and this is how I’m going to do it with you, so don’t worry about it.” And the moment you’ve got that with your client is the moment your client says, “Wow. That’s a lot of value. I’m glad I’m working with you.” The other thing he says is by creating or deepening your relationships, and great relationships are really about great confidence. When you have a great relationship with somebody, you’re both very confident in each other. There’s no friction. There’s a high speed of trust. It just works really, really well when you have a great relationship with anybody in your life – with your family members, whatever. And of course the opposite works, too. If you have a poor relationship, there is no trust, and certainly, there’s very little confidence. So think about it like playing on a great sports team when you were growing up. When you play on a great team, you just have confidence, and you’re willing to take more risks and do more things, because you know if you make a mistake, that someone else on your team is going to cover up and carry it forward, and the risk is still going to be worth it. Well, the opposite is true, too. If you ever played on a bad team, you just watch a whole lot of people who don’t want to take any risks and make any mistakes, because they don’t want to be the reason the team lost. If they make a mistake, it could be costly for the entire team.
And the last way, Dan Sullivan says, is just through creativity. It’s just, what are your skills? What is your knowledge, your tools, your technologies and systems that you bring to the relationship that enhance what you are going to do to execute it? It’s one thing to show up with a full tool belt, and then you can handle anything. You can be as creative as anyone else in the world, kind of like a repair person who comes with every tool. With their creativity, they can fix anything. If you come to a relationship and you don’t have the right skills and mindset and wisdom and tools and technology, it’s really hard to be really creative. I think our customers are asking us more and more to be as creative as possible right now.
So if you think about this 100-Day program, I want you just to break it into a couple of sprints, right? There’s one sprint right now, a 30-day sprint, that will bring you up until about the middle of October. Another one brings you to the middle of November, and another one in the middle of December. So just set a big goal to get back in touch with your client base, to work even harder than you ever have right now, and just run full out for the next 30 days. I personally would tell you to book a holiday right now for around November 1st, because I think there’s this magic that happens when we book a holiday (even if we can’t afford it), and we start telling our clients we’re going away. In my 30 years of real estate, every agent I’ve known who’s ever gone on holiday has been so busy in the day or two leading to it that they do so many transactions that would more than pay for the holiday, probably by a multiple of five. So it’s very important. It’s just the magic of taking a holiday. And the great thing is, you can run with a whole bunch of clients, and within six weeks, you should be able to wrap most of them up. And then you come back to a whole new fresh set of clients, and then continue the sprint for another six weeks, right? So it’s kind of exciting!
The next strategy I would suggest is, why don’t you think about creating some type of “clients for life” framework? Is there a way that you could start rewarding clients, almost like a points/bonus system? I only have 25 minutes on this podcast, so I don’t really have time to go in depth of what it looks like, but what if you just started rewarding your clients with extra bonuses and perks, the same way that all of the other companies hand out Air Miles and loyalty programs? There’s a reason they do it, and the reason they do it is it works. And if they keep loading you up with perks, it’s really hard for you to switch over to another provider. If you think about even your credit card, and you get a lot of miles on your credit card, it’s pretty hard for you to – you might switch credit cards – but it’s going to be really hard for you to switch banks and move all of your accounts and move everything just because you might get an extra Air Mile with another provider. So they know that the more value they can add, the more points and perks they can give you, you’re just going to do it. I’ll tell you, Air Canada right now – I just see it. You get addicted to getting Air Miles because of all the extra perks you get.
And then another mindset to have is let’s just choose to be a hunter for the next 100 days. Set your goals higher. Do the work required, and get a plan together to master all the energy that you’re going to need to do the sprint. And just do it because you’re making a commitment today to go and do it. “I’m doing it because I said I was going to do it.” Hard work requires energy, and it’s going to require you to maybe just change some habits right now. I know it always forces me to. I need to sleep better. I need to eat better. I need to exercise more. And it’s magical when you actually do all those things, how much actual energy you get. So maybe just think of yourself. What are some of the habits that you’ve formed right now that might not be helping you the most to give you all the energy you need to go on this 100-Day Sprint?
I’d also probably think about starting to create a secret list of buyers and sellers. If you start to do a lot of farming, or if you already have a geographic farm, you probably already know a lot of people who want to buy in that area, or are thinking about selling in that area. But I don’t know if each one knows that you actually have this secret list. So could we put together some type of marketing campaign into the farm area, saying, “Hey, listen. I’m currently working with five or 10 buyers who are looking to buy a home in your neighbourhood. If you want the no muss, no fuss, easy button transaction, it’ll be confidential. You don’t have to put your house on MLS. Just give me a call.” And I think back to buyers, we can be marketing, “Hey, I’ve got five or 10 sellers that I’ve talked to over the last couple months who are thinking about selling. They’re not on the market right now, and if you would like to get access, and maybe see if I can get you in to see those homes – (we call it the ‘Secret MLS’) – let me know if you’re interested, and let me just work and try to get those appointments.”
The next mindset is, can we become the “Angie’s list,” or the “Jiffy?” There’s an app called “Jiffy.” It depends on what market you’re listening to, but in Toronto, I think it’s called “Get Jiffy,” and basically, I love it. If my dishwasher goes, something goes, I just open the app and go, “I need this.” They send the best person who’s already rated to come over, and they do it at a very reasonable price, and it just saves a lot of headache for me. What if you could become the “Angie’s list” for your clients? “Angie’s list” has been around for a long time, and they basically have a whole bunch of approved suppliers that will go and do the work, and they’re rated internally and externally. And because there’s a reputation, and they’re rated, they tend to do a lot of great work at a very reasonable price. So what if you could almost become that maven for the centre or hub of your database? It just encourages more engagement. It builds a bigger moat around your business, because people are like, “Oh, wow. I didn’t just buy a house; I bought a relationship – an ongoing relationship.” And what if you even started talking to them about a longer-term relationship? “Hey, listen. I’ve got a 20-year plan for us right now. One is you’re going to be buying your first home. Your first home – I know you think you’re going to be there for five or 10 years – but the stats are you’re probably going to move in four to six years. So I’m going to get you to focus on a home that you’d like, but also the most re-sellable home, because I know in another four to six years, you’re going to want to get me back in here to make sure we get you the most money. And then you’re going to move up to your move-up home, and you’re probably going to be there for 10-13 years. And if things are going really well, you’re probably going to go up to your luxury home. And in the meantime, during our relationship, I’m going to be talking to you about maybe buying an investment property or two for your children, because if we can buy them now, and I can show you a way that the rents can pay off those mortgages, then by the time they’re ready to go to university, you have their college fund or university fund all paid for. I think that’s really important. I’m not here just to sell you one house, or “do a deal.” I’m here to really build a 20-year or 50-year framework with you, because I’m committed to just building as much wealth as I can for you.” And I don’t know who’s going to say no to that. I think when someone hears that, they’re like, “Wow. This isn’t just the deal. I’m not just a number. This is a relationship that’s going to be going for a long time. And you may even offer, like, “Listen. Every year, we’re going to call you. We’re going to do the annual check-up, make sure that everything’s fine, the mortgage is still fine. Or I might have some strategies for you to pay off your mortgage even quicker. Rates might go down. Terms might get better. It might be time to refinance at some point. So I just want to let you know I’m going to be in this relationship for a long time, and that’s how I build a ‘clients for life’ club. I want to be your realtor for life,” as Joe Stumpf used to say in “By Referral Only,” which I was a great part of for a long time.
I think with that, we can almost come to the end right now, which is: what do I want my client to feel when I do a transaction? I want my client to get from me, “Hey, this is where we’re going. This is what it feels like when we get there. This is why we’re going there. This is what it looks like. I’ve got this. I’m a professional realtor, and I’m going to safely navigate you through this entire transaction.” And I think it’s just a great mindset to have, to bring for the next 100 days. Let’s just get out there and go and step up your lead generation, and talk to as many people as you can. And more importantly, don’t try to be someone else. Everyone else is already taken. Just be you. If you’ve seen and listened to some of these podcasts, when I’ve got guests on for an interview and we’re trying to figure out their niche, I’m not telling them what everyone else is doing. We’re just customizing a strategy based on their existing unique abilities and skills and strengths. And then we’re just matching it off to a target market of people that they want to serve. The beautiful thing is that we just have to figure out the marketing plan for them. And that usually requires that we just plan it from: where’s their customer now? Where are they going? What’s a unique problem they have? And what’s a great solution for you to provide and do that?
I think the riches really are in the niches. I think more and more, especially in a shrinking market, it’s easier and way more profitable to be focusing on a subset of the market, and just spending a lot of your time and effort making sure you’re servicing that market at a high level, bringing the wisdom you’ve collected that’s not “Googleable” (if that’s a word), and just building a great tribe of raving fans. Because after all, that’s what it’s all about!
So just a quick summary. Let’s go back to the basics. Let’s focus on your database. Let’s build a big moat around your business and protect it from competition. Always be working and developing your skills and tools and knowledge, because it creates more creativity that you can bring, and makes you different with your clients – and that, in turn, adds a lot of value. Become a student of the market. Watch the market, and also the sub markets, and look for little gaps and opportunities where you can focus your resources and just gain a lot more market share during this 100-Day Sprint. And really just be an amazing, caring person for your clients, that is really trying to build a 20-30 or 40 or 50-year framework of doing business with them.
So I hope that helps! We are on the theme of the 100-Day Sprint this fall, so you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. So talk to you later! Thanks for listening. Bye bye.