First, tell us a little bit about who you are and how you got started:
I was running a small house painting business and saw the opportunity in real estate in 2003 when the market was just taking off. I got my license and never painted again!
Did you ever expect to be as successful as you are now?
This is certainly a surprise. I didn’t start with a master plan or expectations of huge success…but I am quite happy with the result. I did $54M two years ago and $62M last year. My first year was about $4.5M in sales and I hope to hit $80M this year. I will hit $80M this year.
The key step for me was joining Keller Williams and embracing the MREA (Millionaire Real Estate Agent) book and model of running a real estate business with a team. This concept is not to to be a real estate salesperson by yourself, but to be a small business that provides real estate services.
What’s your best prospecting strategy to date?
Be persistent and add value in whatever you do – if you do that, you’ll do well.
You’re ranking pretty well for some key Google search terms in your market, how helpful is it to be ranked well?
For a large business like mine, absolutely crucial. Less important if you are running a smaller operation or a neighborhood shop.
What was your strategy in obtaining these rankings?
We identified the opportunity in 2004 and have building since then. We have a dedicated internet marketing person and spend time and money cultivating our online presence.
Did you hire someone or did you do it yourself?
Actually, my wife does it. You need someone incredibly dedicated and thorough – it a labor of love, not of hourly pay. I’ve never used an outsource SEO style company…I imagine they are all hucksters. I think the broadstrokes of what to do are fairly simple…its just a matter of executing. Like anything else.
Do you have any tips for dealing with online leads?
Its a numbers game, so you have to consistently follow through with your leads and add value to their experience. Be prepared to fail many times with online leads.
When an online lead fails – What happens to that lead?
We stay in contact with them forever, until the buy or unsubscribe. We have numerous customized lead follow up plans to make sure we stay front and center on their minds.
What do you think about real estate blogs? waste of time or essential?
Excellent complement to your neighborhood sites, or web site, but as a stand alone, its useless.
What about social media, what’s your view on that?
I’ve never had a ton of specific success, but many people make a living off of it. I would make sure your sphere knows about what you do! Its really best for marketing to your sphere, not for generating new leads.
With new agents having no experience in online marketing – what do you suggest they should do?
Build a network and database of live leads first before focusing on electronic ones. BUT – you need a solid web presence to look like a real broker.
Do you have any tips on building this network before working on online leads?
Yes: Do 3 social events a week (dinner, lunch, coffee) with friends, etc. Add everyone to your database and be consistent. In addition to social engagements, engage them on facebook with non RE content. Don’t be afraid to ping them occasionally with updates…you never know who might need your help.
Have you tried any form of online paid advertising?
This is a very complicated answer – it works for me, but as part of a overall strategy. I never pay for leads…I only pay a referral fee on leads online!
anytime I get a call asking if I need more business I immediately ask if they want money or a fee. If they want money – “Goodbye.” They have no incentive to provide good leads. If they want a referral, then they are a partner in the deal…and the lead has a better change of being real.
What about offline advertising, what’s the most effective method you’ve done?
One tip for agents that you think they all might be missing or not doing correctly:
“When you’re not working, your competition is.”