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Kevin is a client of ours in Phoenix who has been selling homes since 2009. Phoenix is “ground zero” for real estate disruption. He ran a team with 5 agents and “a lot of expenses” and decided it wasn’t worth it.
He scaled back and shifted his strategy to earn all his business from his database and relationships. He will sell 30 homes this year and has a lot more time to spend with his 3 small children.
Kevin does not buy any leads, pays zero dollars to Zillow, hasn’t made a single cold call, and most of his business “comes from people calling him”. This has allowed him to put his real estate business on “auto-pilot” while he can focus on his true passion - real estate investing.
In fact, with this database focused strategy – and even in the face of all the disruption in his market – his average commission rate has “increased this year”.
He hired us to stay in touch with everyone he knows and to help him stay consistent with the plan.
“My clients watch my videos and talk to me about them”, he says. “It’s really increased my business and most importantly my profit – not just my GCI, which I call ECGI (Ego Gross Commission Income).
Advice To Others: "Get clear on your vision and purpose on what you are looking to create from your real estate business. This gives you the motivation to push through the difficult times. By leveraging a tool like Vyral, you can use that as fuel to accelerate your growth. He feels that he is better at marketing since working with Vyral, especially now with utilizing video marketing."
FULL TRANSCRIPT (edited) OF INTERVIEW
Frank Klesitz 0:02
Hi everyone! This is Frank Klesitz and I have an interesting interview for you today with one of our clients Kevin in Phoenix. Phoenix is ground zero for real estate disruption. Any Silicon Valley company who wants to bring tech into real estate and marginalize a real estate agent, he's dealing with right now. That's where all the money goes. If you go to Phoenix, you're going to see radio ads, billboards and TV commercials for "we buy your home, call us"! There's this sucking sound of listings being pulled out of the market that are going to these institutional buyers or companies that handle real estate. They're all testing out in Phoenix and Kevin's dealing with that. Kevin's been in business since 2009, has about 10 years of experience in real estate and has been through many coaching programs and many seminars. Eventually he just had to figure out, how am I going to compete? How am I going to do business? What's going to be profitable?
Frank Klesitz 1:12
I think what's interesting is you made some decisions along the way of what not to do. Is that right, Kevin?
Kevin Langan 1:16
That is correct.
Frank Klesitz 1:18
So, why don't you share with the audience what you don't do to get business?
Kevin Langan 1:27
Before we get into that, I went down the road that everyone thinks they want to go down, which is to try to build a team. I noticed that my quality of life was not so great because I was working too much, and not spending time with my wife and my kids. So, I made some changes, shifted out of that and I'm not running a team. I don't have buyer agents. I don't pay for leads anywhere on Zillow or Facebook or any of those platforms. I'm not door knocking, I'm not cold calling, I'm not calling for sale by owners. I'm not calling expired listings. I have done all of those things in the past. I've done open houses this year, but for the most part, it's all about relationships and referrals.
Frank Klesitz 2:25
Knowing what you know now, if you were just getting started in the business, would you be able to have a business that's based just on relationships and referrals?
Kevin Langan 2:34
Yes, I think that's going to be more and more critical as time goes on. Owning your relationship with the client and with your database is even more important with this technology, disrupting the market. What's interesting on our team in particular, we've noticed an actual increase in our commission percentage in 2019, year-to-date over 2018. So, we need to be professionals that add value to the people that are in our life and in our world. We have to learn how to articulate that value on a consistent basis. And, just being friendly and understanding that, especially when you're starting in real estate, it's a game of delayed gratification. You've got to figure out ways to get more people into your world, and not just by internet registrations, I'm talking about face to face. In my opinion, the best way to meet people face to face is at an open house. It's all about your energy and your interaction.
Frank Klesitz 4:00
Give me an idea of your production, so that people know how much business you're doing in Phoenix.
Kevin Langan 4:16
This year, I'll end up at 29 transactions and the average sale price is around 300k. Last year I was at 293k average sale price and I did 30 transactions. In 2017 I did 48 transactions. So, I've actually scaled back a little bit, but my profitability is higher.
Frank Klesitz 4:45
You probably also really enjoy how you're doing business. You've done business a lot of different ways and tried to do some of these big things that other bigger teams are doing but it wasn't congruent with how you actually wanted to conduct your business. Do you want to talk a little about that, because you said you did door knocking and you did these things and they worked, but you didn't like it.
Kevin Langan 5:10
They're not bad ways to generate business but, if you've ever talked to an expired listing or knocked on a door and had someone call you names and slammed the door in your face, it doesn't feel good necessarily. That's where the inner game of your relationship with yourself and your mental strength and consistency with your mindset can really pull you through. I have a big database of people that I've closed transactions with and I go through that list and cherry pick my favorite people. Then those people are the people that I focus on. We do client events, they get my Vyral videos, we do all sorts of things to systematically interact with those people on a consistent basis. When you build relationships with people over time, you build trust and confidence. They not only like you as a person, but they look at you as a professional. With all of these different things over the years, I just developed this feeling that I'm not even worried about next year or where the next deal is coming from, because I just focus on serving my clients at a high level.
Then I ask for referrals. I say, who do you know, that's thinking about purchasing or selling a home that I should be talking to? That's it. It's very simple, but most of the time, people are calling me and saying, "Hey, I'm ready." Or "Hey, I sent you my friends’ info". Most of the leads that I get are people doing those types of things.
Kevin Langan 5:12
There are ways to generate now business for a new agent. And again, it's generating business now, but also building relationships. Most buyers know that if they register on a website, they're going to get 87 phone calls from mortgage lenders, realtors, Zillow and everybody. A lot of buyers are skittish about registering on a website these days. So, they go to open houses and see the open house on Zillow or Redfin. Then they go to an open house, and you as the professional, it's your job to articulate professional value, and to show that person how you can aid in their home search. It's not finding them homes, it's not getting their email and emailing them listings. That's the path of least resistance and that's what an average agent is going to do. I've done that before. I'm sure if any agents are watching this, they've done it before too. But I'm challenging you to take it a step further, learn about their goals and their wants and their needs. And then ask a question that has a value proposition attached to that.
Kevin Langan 8:16
For example, Frank walks in, he says: "Hey, we live in the neighborhood, we're just kind of scoping around. Great. What do you think about the house? Is this your next home? Well, no, we own the same floor plan. We're thinking about moving. Okay, what's not working about your house for you?" And you just run through that dialogue with them. Then at the end of that: "You know, what, Frank, would it be valuable if I could put together some information about what's going on in the area? We can kind of decide what your home is worth on the market today and put together a game plan to get you in your next home, would that be valuable for you? Yeah, it would. Okay, great! Do you have some time on Thursday at five o'clock, would that work for you?" And then just set the appointment on the spot. Don't even wait to follow up with someone from the open house. Engage them in a professional dialogue and that's how you can start getting people into your database faster than just naturally slowly growing this thing like I did.
Frank Klesitz 9:10
You've been around a lot in the industry for 10 years. Of all of the different options to choose from you decided to hire us. That was a big decision considering 30 deals a year doesn't give you a massive marketing budget. Why did you go down the Vyral Marketing path?
Kevin Langan 9:34
A couple things...I knew that leveraging technology and getting in front of people and then having the accountability to do it was important for me. If it's just left up to me to put something together that's thoughtful and well branded and consistent, I needed to have some type of financial attachment to that where I'm paying for this. I made the investment to do that and most of the time when I'm talking to someone that I'm working with, they're like, "Oh, yeah, you talked about that in one of your videos." It comes up quite a bit that I know that the reach is there. It's just about keeping you top of mind with your people and it's one piece of the puzzle that I'm using to stay in touch with people. They can sense that through your videos, but they also sense that in the interactions, in the appointments, once you close the transaction with them, and the trust and rapport just continues to build higher and higher. Then it just gets to a point of where 25 to 30 transactions is autopilot for me. What that's allowed me to do is take so much of the time that I was spending door knocking and cold calling and going into the thing that I really love doing, which is buying real estate for myself for either flip or hold. I don't think we all get into this to be on a sales treadmill forever.
Frank Klesitz 11:32
Were there any challenges or fears that you dealt with when you first started getting on video or is it pretty natural for you?
Kevin Langan 11:43
I think my first videos were pretty bad.
Kevin Langan 11:49
But I think you just have to do it. There's a book by Tony Jerry and he has one rule in there that's called the "87% rule." If you can get something to 87% of perfect, then that's as good as you're going to get it. Sometimes the video will be perfect, or it'll be a little bit choppy and I'm like all right I'm busy, it's good, just go. Maybe it might have sounded better if I would have recorded it again but for me it was just about consistently doing the video, just do it every single time. Sometimes when I'm scheduled to record, I'll record four or five videos, because I know the next few weeks are booked up and it's going to be difficult to set time aside to do that.
Frank Klesitz 12:58
How do you know Vyral is working? How do you know the effort you put in your emails and your videos are making any difference?
Kevin Langan 13:05
Because my clients talk about it. They mentioned it when I talked to them. Obviously, I get the reports from you guys based on who's looking at the emails. I know if someone's really seriously searching for a home on our website or things like that, and I can follow up with them. But mostly it's from the conversations. A lot of people in my database, I see them at church, I see them at the gym, I just see them around and they say: "Oh, hey, I saw your video". I know it's working because people tell me that they saw the video and they might have seen one that week or they might have seen one two months ago. But the cool part is sometimes we get busy and I only released one video a month rather than two and even when I have those faults or challenges, because it's been consistent for such a long time, the audience doesn't notice.
Frank Klesitz 14:14
You mentioned that we don't have to go into detail. But, one of the things we teach at Vyral is that you're essentially publishing a newsletter. You're publishing a magazine online. And, you could have advertisers as a part of this. You went out and you've raised some money to help offset some of the cost of this, is this correct?
Kevin Langan 14:33
That is correct.
Frank Klesitz 14:34
What advice would you give to someone if they're looking to get a little help to zero cost the fee of Vyral? Where would they start, and what would they do?
Kevin Langan 14:45
I would say talk to the vendors that you are referring people to and talk to the vendors that you are introducing clients to. Obviously, as we know, a buyer can choose any mortgage lender that they want. So, it's up to our mortgage lenders that we refer to earn the business. They have to provide professional value just like we do. If we are introducing people on a routine basis to a high level professional and they see value in advertising with you, you're able to do that. That's what I've done.
Frank Klesitz 15:21
Everyone search on Google the "Vyral Marketing Lender Co-Advertising Plan". I spent a lot of money to have all the regulatory documents necessary and third-party valuations for someone on the settlement statement with RESPA to participate in your marketing with you. It is possible to do it for marketing, co-marketing, and co advertising, but not for referrals. You'll see all the steps to get about half your fee paid for by what Kevin's doing. Which was all on the up and up.
Frank Klesitz 16:23
What advice do you have for our clients to get more sales from their database?
Kevin Langan 16:29
Interact with them more, period. Anyone who's been in real estate for a few years probably has heard of the Thanksgiving Pie Giveaway. We invite our top 20 people that have sent us a referral in the last year or two into the office, give them a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and get a little bit of face time with them. They know you're in real estate, they know you are their real estate professional. I had one guy that came in, that said "Kevin, I need to sell and buy, let's meet, let's meet soon". And that was it. Every year I would say there's three or four closed transactions within the following three to six months after the pie party that are a result of that interaction. Then it's the follow ups from that, then it's an Easter egg hunt in the springtime, then it's a movie event in the summertime and you can do these events with your lender or title partners. They can sponsor those events with you and help you share the cost.
Kevin Langan 18:02
It's all about being strategic and consistent. For me, in the relationship-based business, the transactions are easier. There's nothing like doing business with an expired listing, that's an angry person that the three previous realtors gave up and didn't want to deal with them. Then you're like me, the person that will not give up. You're like I'm going to close this transaction, but it's going to take the wind out of my sails and take all my energy away, and I'm not going to be excited about doing real estate again, for another month or two. I've done that. I know that working with your database, working with people you like working with, it's just more fun. When you're having fun and you have good positive energy and you're just enthusiastic and happy, people want to be around you, people want to do transactions with you, people trust you, especially when you back up what you promised you're going to do with action. That's the most important thing. Then just be honest with yourself, where am I right now? And where do I want to be? And what are the actions I need to take? Then be honest and take the action.
Frank Klesitz 19:15
You shifted your business and you focused in a very disruptive market of Phoenix to have this attitude, this approach and to work with us and to do business this way. How has that changed your life? How has that helped you? You've reached the point of self-awareness. This is how you ended up with how you want to build your business. What's different now with your life than what it was before when you were doing the other things?
Kevin Langan 19:46
More time with my kids. I have three little kids, four, two and a half, and eight months. It's very busy. My children are beautiful, and my wife does so much work. She does more work than I do with taking care of the kids. It's important for me to be around. The kids are not going to be little forever, they're going to grow up and they're going to move on. That's how life goes. Everyone that I see out in public when I have the little kids, they say enjoy the time, it goes by fast. In 2017 that year I did 48 transactions. I had a team that year, I had five agents, two employees, my expenses were $12,013 $14,000 a month, and it was constant stress. I was missing very, very precious moments with my kids and my family's life. I decided this isn't worth it. I'm going to step back from this. When you look at it, in real estate offices, I call GCI the ECI as an "ego commission income." It's not about what your GCI is, it's about your quality of life and the balance between all those things. Between your income, your relationships, your fulfillment in your heart, all those things. So, I made a choice to do the things that I like, and to feel good. Basically, I was going towards what I like, instead of away from what I don't like. Then everything kind of came into balance. I would be lying if I told you that I'm in perfect harmony right now. It's always a juggling act. You're always working on things and you're always improving.
Frank Klesitz 22:11
If you were to sum up your experience of Vyral Marketing, what would it be?
Kevin Langan 22:15
It would be professional digital representation with accountability.
Frank Klesitz 22:43
Kevin's wonderful agent in Phoenix. If you want to download a copy of the video marketing plan that Kevin follows then go to the homepage of our website www.getvyral.com and download our official video marketing plan. You can see exactly what we're doing and all the examples on our website. If you'd like, you can request a free strategy call on our website to potentially work with us, we'll talk to you. Our team is not on commission, you're going to talk to my business partner, John, who started the company with me 10 years ago, to see if this is a fit. If so we'll get you on-boarded. If, for any reason, you know you're not happy with your videos or working with us, we have a money back guarantee. We'll just write you a check back for all the money. You can check it out and see if it's for you.