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How The McPherson Sisters Closed 17 Homes In July With A Database Of 350 People

By Frank Klesitz in Client Story on Aug 12, 2020

Summary: The McPherson Sisters are a small team in Minneapolis, MN. Over their eight years of selling real estate, almost 100% of their business has come from their database which stays around 350 people. The Sisters work their database hard and utilize video marketing to stay in touch along with direct mail and a network of referral partners.

[Full Transcript]

Frank Klesitz: 

Welcome. My name is Frank Klesitz, CEO of Vyral Marketing. Thank you for being here. I have an exciting client interview for you today. We have two of our clients here, Meaghan and Jennifer, the McPherson sisters up in Minneapolis. They sold 47 homes last year at a $500,000 price point. They're following the Vyral Marketing plan. That's up on our website. If you're interested in working with us. These two are following it pretty much to a T, if not better. Let me read you just a little bit of an intro about these two. So they're a sister team of Minneapolis. Their mom just started working with them. Through their eight years they’ve closed about 300 homes. Last year they did 46 transactions for $22 million.

Frank Klesitz: 

They're at about a $500,000 price point. In July they had 17 closings, that's a lot. Good for you guys. What we're going to talk about today is that most of their business comes from their database and how they work that and how they built that. But there's a couple of, kind of cool things I want to share. One of the things in the Vyral Marketing plan that we teach you here is, you know, yeah, you want to touch people digitally, but also use direct mail. It's really been kind of pulling teeth to get our clients to send out a little personal letter and you guys have been doing that, but you taking it farther where it's not just a personal letter. You also send out a postcard, an evidence of success, a testimonial too. So I wanna hear more about that. The other thing that at Vyral, we really want to encourage our clients to do is to work with other business owners, like who are kind of the big influencers that can kind of promote you to their list as well. You guys do a good job with that. You have a term you call those individuals. Could you share that with me?

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

They’re the whales! They're the big fish.

 

Frank Klesitz: 

They are the big fish. That's right. So I guess I just want to interview you guys and figure out what's working well. So let's just start here. Tell me about the problems and the challenges you were dealing with in your business from a marketing standpoint, before you hired Vyral, what was the pain-point that Vyral solved for you? Let's start there.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

I think a big one is consistency. Absolutely. And accountability. Just getting on the calls with Lauren, she's our Vyral girl and we love her, and she calls us every other week and puts our, our appointment on our calendar. We know that we have to block off that time to meet with Lauren and keep up on doing these videos. We had all these great ideas. We used to do YouTube videos and don't look it up because it's so embarrassing. I would die. We called it Monday Mornings with the McPherson sisters and getting on camera and doing videos just like through YouTube was so successful for us. When we first got into real estate and it was really just us talking about real estate and what we do and people loved it. We fell off the wagon, of course, and it wasn't very professional. So we wanted something that came across more professional to our clients as we've grown as professionals. But again, that consistency has probably been the biggest thing for us. It's been wonderful.

 

Frank Klesitz: 

But in your videos, they are a little more professional, you like the editing, how they're put together?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

You love it. You should see it. We think, “Oh my gosh, this isn't going to be that good, we're not that great.” Then we get it back. We're like, “Oh my gosh, this is wonderful.” They're not that long, we like that, too. It doesn't take forever. We're probably down to like 30 or 45 minute calls with Lauren just to get a quick three minute video out, which is doable. 

 

Frank Klesitz: 

What are your best topics?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Oh gosh. A lot of people like the investing topics or the fun side of real estate or like our design ideas, feature pink colors. I feel like we get a lot of feedback. We'll have clients texting us like, “we used your featured color to paint our front door” and a picture of it. We love it. That's just so sweet. Then we know that they're watching and following our videos. It's been awesome. It's been a lot more of the fun stuff that we've gotten the feedback on. We try to switch it up. We want to keep them informed and educated on what's happening in our marketplace, but we also want it to be fun because that's who we really are. I think a lot of people that work with us, do have fun throughout the process. So it's all about just, you know, “this is what HGTV is doing right now. We're trying it. You guys should do it” and they love it. Then the next week we'll do a market update about where interest rates are at, what are we seeing with our buyers? What are sellers seeing? 

 

Frank Klesitz: 

How much time does it take for you to do this?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Not that much time. Well, what has worked very well for us and Lauren points this out too, is we always think about what we're going to talk about next time. We mentioned that in the video. So like at the end of our video, we'll say, “make sure that you tune in next time, because we will be talking about…” Like this week we said, “we will be talking about what you guys want to hear about, which is investment property is how to make it a flip and not a flop.” Every week then, we've set ourselves up for success every other week now by just having a topic. So at least we know where to start and what to prepare for, and that has really made it easy. Then we just do five major points that we want to touch base on and we just kind of wing it.


Frank Klesitz: 

So a lot of it comes from people asking you what you want to publish. So people are giving you topics, your database.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Well, not necessarily. When we can just gauge based on our Instagram likes, like when we do stuff. When we do a post that is regarding interest rates, like we get a few likes. Like 12, 15, maybe 20 likes on a good post. We're seeing way more engagement, which just tells us that that's really what our sphere or our followers want to hear from us about. So, a lot of that is just based on our social media likes to be honest.


Frank Klesitz: 

You said you were doing video before Vyral. How did you get so comfortable so quickly on video? Was it easy for you? Was it challenging?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

It was. It was challenging at first. Our first broker said, “I think that you guys are very charismatic. You know, I think you should be in front of the camera. I think you should be on Facebook.” So we bought a green screen and put ourselves out in front of our listings and edited our own videos and uploaded them on YouTube. And it worked. People just wanted to know what we were doing. They were curious. We grew up in the area and have lived here our entire life. So we know a lot of people in the area and they want to know where our new listings are in their neighborhood. Our clients and our family and our friends just, I think sincerely enjoy, kind of paying attention to what's happening and want to know what we're doing next. They're kind of like, “where are you girls going? What are you doing?” It was never really professional. It was just more us two having a conversation about real estate. So this time around, it's a lot more informational and professional.

 

Frank Klesitz: 

Let's talk about your database marketing plan. You have a pretty great one. Why don't you share with the audience, what are you doing to stay in touch with your database? So your past clients, leads. Let's talk about what you're doing and what the plan is. If you guys have a set plan and you have Vyral, but I want to hear from you.


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson:

Vyral is definitely the most consistent. Before COVID we would do quarterly in-person events for past clients. That was a really big one because again, we work our database where we were completely referral based for the first seven and a half years of our career. Only referral based, never bought leads. So that was a lot of quarterly events. So we would do like a movie and a picture with the Easter bunny. We would do a boat cruise on Lake Minnetonka, dinner, boat, cruise. We would do pictures with Santa Claus in a nice listing, or a nice model home that we had or something like that. But now, obviously right now we can't do that. So this makes the videos even more important because I feel like we really did lose that face to face interaction and people have actually been saying, quote unquote, we love to see you.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

So yeah, we did events, but we also do, what's called a “letter of the heart.” We learned through The Core training and that's something that we took away from that training program. What it is, is it's a letter out to your database about who you are. Not necessarily as a realtor, it's a letter from the heart. So it's something personal that you want to share with them that maybe they didn't know about you. It puts you out of your comfort zone. A lot of the topics we have shared with our clients have been uncomfortable for us to share. Maybe it's a pitfall or a struggle that we've been dealing with, or just something very personal, a challenge. It just really kind of helps you connect with your clients on a different level. So we do that. That's called the letter of the heart. Then we also do what's called evidence of success. We try to show our clients how many deals we are closing to build credibility, of course, if they don't watch us on social media. That's actually like physical mail that goes out to them, both of those


Frank Klesitz: 

Actually physical mail, I love how you have to say that.  Great. I don't have your letter here in front of me, but one of the things we put in place here at Vyral, because only a fraction of your database will see one line. We also got to hit them with direct mail. It's a piece of the marketing plan, the monthly letter. This is what we put together for you. This is just kind of an example, evidence from the heart and I'll show it to you here. So this is for Jeremy Larkin, another client of ours, but I could see you two doing basically the same thing, but “Hey, clients and friends, I have this little personal message for you, maybe about real estate and something personal call me.” Right. And then here's what the letter looks like. Super personal, return address, just like that.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Yeah, exactly.


Frank Klesitz: 

So you send out something like this once a month, in addition to your two educational videos going out on social media and email to everyone, is that right?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

That's not once a month. No. So it's either a letter of the heart or evidence of success.


Frank Klesitz:

Oh, so you do a monthly mailer.


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Yes. Yeah.


Frank Klesitz: 

So you do the personal letter every other month and then the other mail, you send it as a postcard. Tell us more about that.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

We try not to talk about numbers or stats with our clients or things like that. But it's a mix between pictures of the homes that we have sold, reviews from past clients. It's as simple as just like this time we will put out 17 homes closed in July because that's our best yet that we've done. So we'll probably do the 17 homes that we've sold. Then just say 17 homes sold in July by the McPherson sisters, something very straight to the point, really just clean and easy.


Frank Klesitz: 

So your whole database is getting your two educational videos every month, they're getting a monthly piece of direct mail, whether it's the postcard or the letter, but you also have these relationships with other businesses that provide you with referrals. Tell me more about that, these “whales” so to speak.


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

We started a Core Training program probably five years ago now. It was professional coaching and our coach said that no one can refer business to you like your friends can, or people that know and trust and love you. So, Meaghan and I took that and hit our database and then we took our database and we thought, “how else could we build relationships with people that know and like, and trust us?” They're partnering professionals at this point. We have a healthy relationship where we treat each other well and are grateful for the business that we send each other's ways. But, we work them the same way that we work our sphere. Like they're a very important person to us. They're a VIP or a whale. We target people that we think can send a lot of business our way.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson:

We kind of watch like who sends what and if it doesn't feel like it's a give and take relationship, then we might move on and look for a new partner professional to grow our business with. A lot of times these are small business owners, as well. So they understand our community that we sell real estate in. They understand the value of a referral and those are the best partners to have because it's a win-win. So like for instance, we have like, I'm just thinking of one of our partnered professionals that is completely not real estate related. She's a chiropractor. She deals specifically with women and children and she's a go-getter on social media. That's actually how I heard about her. I reached out to her and I said, “I'd like to do coffee with you.”


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson:

We ended up just totally connecting. She's a great referral partner. I've sent plenty of women and children her way to get adjustments and she's sent plenty of people my way to buy and sell real estate. Again, it's all about relationship building and really finding people that you do connect with and do a nice job at marketing themselves that you're impressed with. Like, you want to be impressed by them and be better. 

 

Frank Klesitz: 

Great. How many of those relationships do you have? Whale relationships?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

We have probably at a time, probably about 10 to 15 solid whales. We keep our VIP list pretty tuned in at about 35 to 50, depending on where we're at. So those are really small business or industry professionals like theaters, electricians, plumbers or home inspectors. You know, all that kind of stuff.


Frank Klesitz: 

Have you thought of including them on your blog or maybe interview them in one of your videos?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

We have on YouTube. I think a lot of them would be hesitant, but I really think that we need to get some of them on here because they would do so great.


Frank Klesitz:

Let me give you little tips to maybe help them out. You should create, for each of your whales- these business owners- a gift certificate to their business. You can go to Fiverr and search for “gift certificate.” There are people that will make very inexpensive gift certificates. So the offer can be for whatever. There should be a page on your blog of “our businesses” with a nice little interview with them, a little write-up and where you can download the special exclusive offer from the McPherson sisters. So when you go to this you're business owners and let me interview you when I send this out, let's put that coupon, or whatever it is, in the email that says, “print this,” or “use this to claim for a business.” In addition to that, print them all off. At every closing when someone moves into the home, put a little bouquet together of the gift certificates and say, “Hey, welcome to the new home. You're probably looking for providers, you know, check these guys out.” It'll start sending more trackable business to your business relationships.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

That's very cool. That's a great idea. I love it. We'll add it to our to-do list.


Frank Klesitz: 

Yeah. Add it to the to-do list. That's where you start getting into where obviously there's lots of value in just working with them directly, but where they maybe can help give you money to help participate in the marketing, too, because you're sending business their way. You don't have to do that, but that's kind of that bridge to get there is the gift certificate angle,


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Right? Yeah, definitely. I love it. Great business card.


Frank Klesitz: 

So let's talk about that. So how many people would you say you're having your list? Let's break down your database size segments. Tell me, go deeper into what that means. What consists of that? So everyone here has an idea.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

It's between 300 and 350 people at a time and it consists of...


Frank Klesitz:

At a time, so people are moving in and moving out. So you’re pruning it. Got it. Tell me, tell me more about that strategy of pruning the 350 people.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

We reach out about once or twice a year, depending on where we're at, I guess, and go through our list and say, “do we think these people should be on something that we're targeting right now? Do these people match with what we're trying to do?” Sometimes we do prune it and sometimes we add new people. So I'd say we're close to 350 all the time with kind of our sphere. And then we have our VIP list, which is more of our partnered professionals. Then we have another list who are people in business that we'd like to do business with, that we have not done business with yet. 


Frank Klesitz: 

So you already have your list of business owners that you want a relationship with. You guys are savvy. I think a big “aha” so far for me is you hired Vyral to stay in touch with a list of 350 people. Is that right? That's abnormal. I'll tell you that. Well, it's good. Let me say that. But most people, for those of you watching, are probably like, “well, how many thousands of people do I need in my database before it works?” Or you think you need to have this big, giant email list. And that's not the case, is it?

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

No, no, no. I would say it's better to have smaller than tons because quality over quantity. It's about, do you have a relationship? This should be the rule of thumb. When you make your list, If you saw this person at Target, would you say hello? And if the answer is no, then they should not be on your list. It's as simple as that. I have my grandma on my list because I would squeeze her and yell and say hi, and then I have people like our past clients. Family, friends, past clients, current clients that are under contract, leads. Then whales and VIPs, are separate. But our Vyral gets sent out to our VIP. Vyral goes to everyone. So just simple business.


Frank Klesitz: 

I say that with much respect because it's very easy to get over complicated. You're not buying any internet leads. The only leads that you have are some Zillow leads coming in, which has been profitable for you, right?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

That was started in February though, otherwise, it was simply just referral-based business. We're only doing that to try to grow our team, eventually. So there's agents and things like that.

 

Frank Klesitz: 

So how come you never got on the buying lead train up until just recently with some Zillow leads? 


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson:

We've really had some great mentors throughout our career. A lot of them have been very relationship driven, successful people in real estate and in the mortgage business. I would say our biggest “aha” moment was when we went to the Core Training, which is a big coaching company and they coached top producing loan officers.


Frank Klesitz: 

Is that Rick Ruby? He's a good guy. Yeah.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

So we met, we went to an event of his and he is all about relationship building and it just really, honestly, it was just who Jennifer and I are as people. And that's the business that we wanted to have instead of cold leads, we wanted very warm and just people that we knew and already could trust us. And that's just what has worked best for us, to be honest. I know a lot of people that have a lot of success with leads, but it just fit our business model. It's who we are as people. We want to grow a relationship with you and stay in touch with you and know about what your kids are doing and know about your family. I think just show people that we genuinely care, you know?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson:

We care about our business and we want it to be a great experience and we want you to be wowed by our service and what we can offer to our clients. I think that Vyral is just another touching point to get in front of the people that we do care about and just say, you know, “this is what we're up to, here's a market update.” Especially right now. Because there's none of that going out to eat or having any events or anything like that. We've been really happy with it.


Frank Klesitz: 

So you're building your team. Why don't you share the advice that you're going to give your new team members and they join your organization to grow.

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Call everyone you know and tell them that you're in real estate.


Frank Klesitz:

So be more specific, tell them. Be more specific. How do you do that? What do you do? How do you, what do I do?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Well, find you would say hi to at Target.Go to your Facebook page and go through your thousand friends and pick out the 200 that you actually know. It's all about making it a win-win right? So like, get to know what they're up to. It's not all about you, but if they're going to ask just say, “You'll never guess I'm in real estate now, and I'm part of this team, or I'm doing this, or I'm on my own, whatever it might be. And please keep me in mind if you ever come across anyone that's thinking about buying or selling, I would love that opportunity to help them, by the way, let's grab a drink or, you know, go out for dinner sometime I'd love to catch up and just stay in touch.”

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

I think appointments have always been a really big part of our business. We try to do at least 10 face-to-face appointments each per week. Which means you actually sit down and have a conversation regarding real estate with a person and talk about real estate. You can go into their family and you can go onto their friends, but actually having a meaningful conversation with the intention of growing your business, talking with them, um, face-to-face appointment. That's another thing that we learned that was super beneficial for us. Just kind of getting out of your comfort zone and asking people for coffee and saying, “this is what I'm doing in real estate. And this is my passion and this is my career. Is there anything you could recommend that could help me grow? Or is there anything you've done with your business that might help me out that worked really well?”


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

“You know, I see that you're crushing it. You're doing amazing.” It's flattering, right? If you go out and flatter people that you would know and care about. You might see them at Target and not be like, “wow, I've seen you on Facebook, you're crushing it,” you know, but you definitely say hi. It's nice to hear that if they are truthfully working really hard and things like that. I think with any industry, there's going to be areas where you can help each other grow. And we've really learned that that like, regardless of what that person does or does for a living, they're still running a business in some way, shape or form. And you can learn from one another.


Frank Klesitz: 

What advice do you have to a new Vyral client to succeed?

 

Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

I would say do not reschedule your calendar.


Frank Klesitz: 

Yeah.


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

And do it. This is something else, don't think too much into it. Like really just make it about who you are and what you really think that people want to hear or what you want to talk about, because that will feel more natural. So don't reschedule. Do it when it's supposed to happen. Because the consistency portion, it will be a success. It will be beneficial. It will be a success. You don't have to be put on video. Believe me. They do a very good job at editing for us. Very much appreciate that.


Frank Klesitz: 

Thank you. I guess one of the questions people ask anytime when you're going to spend money on marketing is what's the ROI? How do I measure the ROI? How would you answer that question of you're giving us money to do things, to get you business. How do you know that's coming back to you more than what you're paying us?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

I know for a fact it is. Something that's really cool, that I didn't really think was going to be that cool, is you can actually see who opens your videos. It almost gives us a little sense of like, “Oh my gosh, is she really thinking about selling?” Like, there's that kind of stuff that helps. But also it's all about touching people. And that's a proven fact. So if you're  maybe nervous to pick up the phone and call that person, this is actually a really easy way to touch that, you know, whoever it might be. I think it's worth every dime. Anyone that's considering doing Vyral, I would do it in a heartbeat. I actually had our friend Parker Pemberton of Pemberton Homes, does Vyral. One of the most impactful things, he said when we met with him, that he's spent marketing dollars on has been Vyral.


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson:

He said, “it just helps me stay in touch with my database. It's consistent. It's fun. People actually get to see you.” So it helps stand out from an email or whatever that might be. It works and I think that even from doing video in the past on YouTube, it would take us, you know, 20 minutes to upload the video on YouTube, not to mention trying to edit it. I think that if you look at your value personally, and what your time is worth, sometimes it's better to pay a professional to do the job the best way possible instead of spending countless hours on producing something that won't be as quality or as well done. Then you're still putting something out there that isn't a great representation of who you are and what your business is.


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

As a Realtor, we want to focus on real estate and video marketing isn't our specialty. It's part of what we think we need for our real estate business and company as a whole. But I don't think we're best at personally, right. So if you're nervous about thinking about topics, they have so many videos that they can send your way of topics. I mean, I wouldn't have topics for an entire year, even if I had no idea what I wanted to talk about next week. So yeah. Lauren will send us little clips of what agents are doing. They'll also send out an email. Vyral sends out an email saying, “These are the videos that got the top hits this week.” Meaghan and I will look at those and say, “wow, well, they talked about this.” Or, you know, “he talked about this and I really liked what he had to say.” So it's not necessarily like trying to copy someone, but I think sharing ideas is really nice.


Frank Klesitz: 

You mentioned you see who opens the email and clicks the links. You follow up with those individuals and that's important. Tell us how you do that without kind of creeping them out, knowing that they're clicking links. I mean, what would you say? How do you handle those followup calls?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Literally, like, “I saw you watched my video wink face.” I'm sure that they know, you know. Other times it's really, send them a text, like, “Hey, how are you? I hope you're doing well. We need to catch up.” Just reach out to them, just know that that's somebody that you probably want to follow up with nine times out of 10 when you reach out. They're probably like, “I was literally just thinking about you. We're considering this. Oh my gosh, I just saw your video. How are you doing?” They'll bring it up out of their own comfort. Right? Like, they'll say it before you even have to say anything. So you're like, “Oh my gosh, what did you think? We just started doing Vyral videos. Do you like them?” And then we'll ask for feedback, too. Like it's honestly natural. It comes naturally up in a conversation. I don't even think it needs to be uncomfortable. I think Vyral is more comfortable than most of the things that we've done to grow our business. 


Frank Klesitz: 

So it sounds like your marketing plan is the two videos a month, the monthly piece of direct mail and calling the people that click the links for the most part for your database. Is there anything I'm missing? Cause you can't do the events right now.


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson:

No. We do a lot of just calling people, staying in touch. We do a ton on social media, we're posting when we're supposed to be posting. But Vyral does that for you, which is also videos. I mean, in addition to what we're doing ad campaigns, we're doing target marketing. We're doing things like that with our new listings. we're always posting evidence of success as far as we had a closing today. So we're getting out there more often than we even think about really. It's just like part of our daily routine. So our team lead, Nick will go in and post the sold picture from the day before and say, you know, it was closing day and Meaghan and I aren't even necessarily thinking about it anymore. So I think that we're doing a lot. Social media has always been a big platform for us.


Frank Klesitz: 

Cool. I guess I'll wrap it up there. How does someone get ahold of you and where's the blog where they can go check out your stuff?


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

McPherson Sisters Homes. Otherwise our Facebook page, our you can always just at McPherson Sisters. Reach out. We'd love to hear from you if you're considering doing Vyral Marketing in a heartbeat. I sincerely mean that it's been a fantastic experience. We've been very, very pleased with the results and holding accountable. So that's always very important, especially in this industry.


Frank Klesitz: 

Thanks guys. I appreciate that. We'll go and stop there. And you guys are interested in learning more, go to our website, getvyral.com. You can download a copy of the video marketing plan. That's on the homepage of our website. There's also a class every single week that I teach to go really deep on the plans every Monday at noon. You're more than welcome to join. If you're a client, obviously I'd love to have you there. If you're not, you can request time to come for free. If you'd like to learn more about working with us, go request a free strategy, call on our website and we'll have an honest call with you to see if this will work. You'll speak with my friends since first grade, John, my business partner since 1991, you'll speak with him about possibly working with us. So always thank you so much. 


Meaghan & Jennifer McPherson: 

Thank you.

Topics: Client Story

Frank Klesitz

Written by Frank Klesitz

Frank Klesitz is the CEO and co-founder of Vyral Marketing

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