How Digital Marketing for a Realtor Fuels Her Number One Lead Engine

I spent this morning going to a morning breakfast seminar at my local American Marketing Association chapter.

First off, I’m not a morning person at all. So it required me waking up at 6 am, which I wasn’t happy about.

That, along with being in a room of other business owners and marketing people who actually want to socialize at that hour. I successful avoided any early-morning conversation by sitting in the back row taking care of personal business on my phone.

Anyways, the breakfast seminar was titled ‘Sales and Marketing Tips from a Top Realtor’. I’m not going to mention who the realtor was because it really doesn’t matter. What she had to say was more important than who she was.

I honestly also thought the presentation was going to really suck at first. That group had other realtors speak at breakfast seminars in the past, and they weren’t worth listening to.

But the girl who spoke actually had a lot of great advice for the room as far as marketing goes. It’s a bunch of stuff that I kind of knew, but she confirmed it after good ol’ fashioned hard work.

Here were the most valuable “writer downers” she told the room:

  • The free ride from Facebook is officially over. From now on, it’s pay to play. She basically said if you want your posts to show up in peoples’ feeds, sponsored posts are the way to go.
  • It’s also pay to play on apps like Realtor.com and Zillow. Those platforms basically hold realtors at gun-point if they want to be fed leads. Realtors have to pay hundreds just to have their name next to their seller’s property. If the realtor doesn’t pay that, then the house is up for grabs for other realtors who want to pay for leads. And that’s assuming those realtors even pick up the phone and call the client.
  • Video is King. Everyone is watching video. Even though older generations don’t like to be on camera, if they really want their boost their marketing, they have to be willing to take the leap.
  • Public speaking is a good way to get confident and you can also use the presentations on video. Even the Breakfast Seminar was recorded. The speaker said she used to be the worst public speaker. She admitted used to shake bad. I could sympathize since I used to be the same way. She even said she still does from time-to-time, but with practice, it’s gotten a lot better.
  • As much as realtors invest in professional headshots, she said she only got one lead from a sign in someone’s yard.
  • She also only ever got one lead from a newspaper. She also added that the biggest demographic on Facebook now is in the 50’s now, which is good if you want to sell to people with a lot of money.
  • Only stick to one social channel if you can and post everyday, if not multiple times a day. Don’t make a point to be on all of them and spread yourself thin. I’ve seen this myself with start-ups. They have a website, and they’re on all the social channels but they would rather have 0 followers than start off with even double digit numbers.

But the most revealing part of her presentation was towards the beginning. At the start she had a graph of a break-down of where all her leads came from.

The overwhelming majority of her leads came from either past clients or what she called her “circle of influence”. Basically referrals from her personal network.

Now I haven’t asked my realtor, who sells well over 100 houses a year, but if I did, I know she would 100% say most of her clients are repeat clients or referrals.

She even co-owns 2 Cross Fit gyms (Talk about making me look bad). And those businesses feed each other. Her clients become members of the Cross Fit gyms. And those gym members eventually become her real estate clients.

I hired her after my close friend referred her to me, and she got our first house closed. She even wore a gym outfit to the closing.

My friend who referred me said she also wore a tank top at his closing that said, “My Jerk is as good as my snatch” (Cross Fit reference, but it just sounds funny).

But the speaker added towards the end that even if one of her past clients gives her a referral, it may be a great referral, but that prospect will still look her up. So it’s extremely important to her that the majority of her ratings are as close to 5 Stars as possible.

Her whole marketing method, which she didn’t even know at the time, was to do a great job for her customers, so she could bank that all that good-will and generate endless repeat business, reviews and referrals.

Biggest Marketing Tip of the Story: Try to do A+ work all the time.

Howard Stern’s Secret Sauce for Shooting Straight to the Top

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big Howard Stern fan. I’m also a huge fan of his business model.

In a world where there are hundreds of comedians offering free podcasts, you have pay a monthly Sirius XM bill if you want to listen to Howard’s show.

As much as I love Joe Rogan’s show, I think Howard does much better interviews. That’s just my opinion.

Howard and his team do a lot of research before he talks to a single celebrity. He uncovers stories and secrets that the average person couldn’t even Google.

That’s what businesses should be doing. Most of them should be doing extensive research in their market, but they don’t. So they get average results.

Towards the end of last year, Howard and Robin were reminiscing about all the radio stations they were worked at before they hit it big.

Just like in his movie Private Parts, when Howard and Robin both worked at a radio station in DC, it became #1 in the ratings.

After that, they went to WNBC in New York. Despite all the epic fighting with executives that’s shown in the movie, that station became number 1 in the ratings too.

Howard made the following comment on his radio show recently and I’m paraphrasing:

“I love how we used to go into these markets, become #1, leave to go someplace else and then the radio station would crash and burn.”

In Private Parts, Howard had a major turning-point in his career when his wife told him he did a really funny show when he was 100% honest and just himself on the radio.

After that, he evolved and grew into the shock jock that he’s known for.

With Howard out of his comfort zone, he said more and more outrageous things, which got him more attention.

Which got his show more ratings.

Sure people didn’t like what he had to say. Neither did his bosses. He certainly painted a target on his own back. But he also got raving fans in the process that couldn’t stop listening.

And that should be your ultimate goal in business. You should strive to get as many raving fans as humanly possible.

However, that requires you to get outside your comfort zone. Stuff that most people don’t want to do.

You see this in just about everything.

How many people don’t want to write emails people actually want to read. They don’t want to put themselves on video or express an opinion that might not be popular.

They’d rather just hide and send 100 cold emails a day, or buy an ad that doesn’t work. And then they complain how they don’t get anywhere, or how hard it is to get customers.

They want to stay in their comfort zone more than they want to go outside of it. For fear of who knows what.

But outside the comfort zone is where all the money lives.

It’s also where the competition is not headed, so it’s all the more reason to go there.

Spending Thousands Of Dollars just to Repeat a Single Word Over and Over Again

As you can probably guess from visiting my site, I’m kind of into marketing.

One of the downsides of that is on a daily basis, I  constantly get bombarded with Facebook and YouTube ads targeted to me selling Biz Opp courses.

These are ads selling courses on how the average joe can make money…

  • Starting an Amazon FBA business
  • Starting a Shopify store
  • Starting a Social Media Marketing agency

Just like the Gold Rush, more money was made selling shovels and mining equipment than actually finding gold itself.

But in the Age of Social Media Biz Opp, there are now pages and channels that are dedicated to calling BS to Biz Opp courses and products.

Some of them are kinda entertaining.

One of these channels is BallerBusters on Instagram. This channel calls out so-called “gurus” who peddle Amazon FBA and Forex trading courses and labels these guys as scam artists.

Another is a YouTube channel called Coffeezilla. The channel exposes some of the more notable names like Tai Lopez, Sam Ovens and Dan Lok and exposes them as frauds.

Some of these guys are downright liars and hacks, just trying to sell to anyone with a credit card.

However, there are real business owners out there who absolutely swear by guys who sell Biz Opp courses and genuinely like them because it helps them improve where they’re at professionally.

One is my all-time favorite podcasts is Your Mom’s House with stand-up comedians Tom Segura and his wife Christina P.

A few months ago they had Grant Cardone on as a guest. Some people can’t stand Grant. They think he’s shady and a loudmouth. He also advertises everywhere, he’s always on YouTube and always selling something like his real-estate fund or his online sales training courses.

However, both Tom and Christina, couldn’t get enough of Grant. They talked about his core business philosophies and his message to people who’re motivated. It was an overall positive interview.

Now I’m also part of a Facebook group called Smart Leverage run by Sean Vosler. Sean has made a lot of money doing affiliate marketing, working with JV’s and sells his own book on Copywriting.

He has also done work with names in the Biz Opp industry like Lewis Howes and Tai Lopez.

There was even a thread that discussed Sam Ovens consulting course and how well it worked for members of the group.

And that comes to my main point…

Who you’re selling to is as important as what you’re selling.

One example of this is Transcendental Meditation.

Now I’m not big into meditation or yoga. It’s just not my jam. But that’s just me. I’m more into taking long walks and listening to podcasts.

Basically, here’s the Reader’s Digest version of Transcendental Meditation (Or TM) for short…

  1. You sit in a quiet room by yourself and clear your mind of all your thoughts (which is so much harder than you think. Try to spend 20 minutes not thinking of anything and forcing thoughts out of your head).
  2. You repeat a single word to yourself that is basically meaningless so it doesn’t trigger any thoughts.

Now, there are videos on YouTube heavily criticizing TM.

I watched one YouTube video with a guy ranting and raving about how you shouldn’t have to spend thousands of dollars just to have a TM master teach you to repeat one word to yourself.

That it’s highway robbery and a sham.

And that gurus in the TM community were actively trying to censor people trying to expose them.

However, one notable fan of TM is stand-up comedian Tom Papa. He has mentioned it twice on 2 different Joe Rogan podcast episodes. He claims it changed his whole life, and that he’s more relaxed and at peace with himself.

Now is Tom Papa a fool for spending that kind of money? That depends on your perspective.

For him, spending $1,000 or more to learn TM is worth it because he’s already interested in meditation, willing to learn more and he doesn’t mind spending a little bit to learn more.

So as you navigate the online world that we live in now…

As a business owner, salesperson and marketer, you ultimately want to find your ideal and unique customer who is qualified to buy, and repel anyone who would not benefit from your products and services.

This is why my home page starts off with, “Who is your customer?”

If you sell a Copywriting book to business owners who’re already selling an existing product and have funnels in place, that will lead to a successful customer relationship.

Same thing with selling a $1,000 TM course to someone who’s already interested in yoga, relaxation and mediation.

You want to sell to people who are already interested…

To people who’re already actively trying to solve their problems with similar solutions…

And lastly to people who don’t see price isn’t a big deal. If you have a choice, you should choose to sell to the dedicated few rather than the unmotivated many.

The Little Bookstore That Could

Despite my best efforts, this Black Friday I was dragged out of my house to go shopping with the family.

We drove over an hour to this shopping outlet in Manchester, VT, where they have Kate Spade, Armani and a bunch of other big deal designer shops I can’t remember.

Here’s a side note: I live in New York State and there are a ton of articles online about how my state is the most unfriendliest to businesses.

But I disagree. Vermont is way unfriendlier by a mile.

During a Bachelor Party brewery tour in Burlington, our guide discussed (proudly) how unfriendly VT is toward businesses.

The entire state doesn’t allow billboard advertising. Fast food restaurants aren’t allowed to build drive-thrus because it panders to the state’s outdoorsy folk. For the longest time they didn’t allow Wal-Mart stores to do business in VT (I don’t blame them either).

But in that shopping outlet is a small bookstore called Northshire Books. It’s been there as long as I can remember, but it’s been in business for over 40 years.

I remember only wanting to go there as a kid because there was nothing else to see or do when my parents wanted to go shopping there. There wasn’t even a toy store so this was the next best spot.

And since that time, decades have gone by where Borders and Barnes & Noble have driven places like Waldenbooks and smaller stores completely out of business.

A few months after Borders went out of business nationwide, I even remember Northshire opened up a 2nd store about 20 minutes away from me.

If you own a bookstore, and you’re doing better than breaking even, what are you really selling anyways?

And yet on Black Friday that little bookstore in VT was the busiest store in the entire shopping area. In all of its 2 floors, it was packed wall-to-wall with annoying kids and their poor parents.

I worked with a girl at a sales job a few years ago who opened up that 2nd store, and I asked how Northshire could even compete with Amazon.

She simply told me, and I’m paraphrasing this, ‘They can’t compete at all, so they don’t even try.’ She said, they try to create an environment people actually want to go and hang out.

And then on Black Friday, it finally dawned on me. This bookstore only prospers because it attracts a certain type of customer.

The store is right in the middle of a high-class designer shopping outlet. On top of that, the store is the only bookstore in the entire outlet.

My friend, who opened the 2nd location, told me the reason they opened a 2nd store was because people didn’t want to drive over an hour away, so they gave the original owners money as investors.

They also don’t just create an environment where people want to just stop-in and hang out. They’re in a money-making environment already with all the boutique stores around them, so they’re already attracting customers with money, who’re ready to spend.

On top of that, the people that stop in aren’t shopping for the lowest price. They stop in and they happen to buy something on a whim, or they see a neat gift idea, or they buy something for their kids.

It’s not all about how you market to your customers. It’s about finding out who your ideal customer is, who’ll spend the most money with you.

It Turns Out President “Hyperbole” is the Commander in Direct Response

I was reading Howard Stern’s latest book, Howard Comes Again, when I recently realized something.

But first, let me give a brief overview. The book is all about Howard’s favorite celebrity interviews during his career and what he’s learned from them.

And a quick side-note: This book is a great gift idea to anyone you know who listens to Howard.

I’m the slowest reader in the entire world. I was given this book in March and I’m just wrapping this up in December.

But anyways. Onward.

One of Howard’s regular guests in the book is Donald Trump, and every couple of chapters, there are sections titled, ‘And Now a Word from our President’, which dive into one of the several interviews Howard had with Trump over the years.

And after about 400 pages in, I recently realized Trump speaks as if he’s reading sales copy.

Here’s a snippet…

Howard: I know that’s your real hair. When I was on (Some other guy’s) helicopter, I saw him walk up to the helicopter. And you know how the wind blows? It was attached to his head.

Donald: Oh, it’s my real hair. In fact, I’ve gone on some shows recently where the announcers jump and touch it and say it’s real. And I say, “I know, it’s real. It’s just the way I’ve combed it over the years, and I guess I shouldn’t change.”

Here’s another one…

Howard: You don’t drink?

Donald: No. Never had a drink. That’s one of my good things. Never had a drink, and I never had a cigarette. Other than that, I’m a disaster.

Okay, last one…

Howard: It’s a sad day (9/11 anniversary). But you’re one of those guys who said to keep investing in New York, and people are doing it, right?

Donald: They are. I don’t think it’s ever been better. I guess it has a lot to do with interest rates being so low. But it also has to do with the fact that people want to buy a piece of the Big Apple. They really do. I’ve never seen it like this.

You get the gist.

One of my good friends calls Trump, “Johnny Freakin’ Hyperbole”.

And immediately after he said that, I had to look up the meaning of “Hyperbole”. My friend definitely reads more than me, so his lexicon is better than mine.

But after I learned the definition, I realized that Trump is a walking-talking sales letter.

He uses really simple words. And he uses them in really short sentences.

He also repeats himself constantly. So what he says sticks in people’s heads. He’s like a broken record that people are tired of listening to.

And everything he says, it has to be larger than life.

Let’s say you’re listening to Trump at a press conference describing the U.S. economy…

In reality, the economy is not doing bad at all. It’s not ideal, and there have been dips in the stock market every couple of months, but it’s not like it was 10 years ago.

But Trump would say, “The economy is doing great. Really great. Never better. Everyone agrees!” Something to that effect.

Yes, there would be some built-in hype and probably a few lies, but what else would you expect from a politician?

Alright, so enough about politics. On-to the subject of marketing. When you read your sales copy or the content you publish, what does it look like?

Are the sentences short and easy to read?

Do you repeat all the good stuff early and often?

Do you describe things Bigly? Try not to lie, but try harder not to be boring either.

I don’t know if the books history will call Trump a successful president, but he definitely has a way with words.

Why Some Ads Just Don’t ‘Get a Response’

Let me take you back to my first ‘real’ job out of college.

I graduated from college and I was doing everything I could to get a full time job.

This was back in 2007. Back then, you had Monster, CareerBuilder and classified ads in newspapers before Indeed wiped all those options out of everyone’s minds.

When I was 22, I basically emailed and mailed my resume everywhere I could. I cold-called people I didn’t know and my spiel was, ‘Hey… you don’t know me, but did you get my resume?’

Their response was usually… ‘Uhhhh… don’t worry… We got your resume. And we’ll definitely call you back.’

*Click* Never heard from them again.

Like everyone else who gets a job, I finally got a job through someone I knew. My first job right out of college was as a marketing coordinator for a small company.

At the time, they offered me $28,500 a year and I thought… ‘Alright. This is it. I finally made it to the big leagues’, which was the furthest thing from the truth.

My responsibilities were pretty much writing the monthly newsletter for the company, doing their graphic design (Making brochures ‘look pretty’ as the VP called it) and updating the company website.

Remember brochures? No, wait, forget brochures. Do you even remember websites back then?

This was back in 2007. Back then you had to write updates within HTML tags. You had to know all the tags and if you did anything out of order, it would throw off your entire website.

If you missed one little < or > all hell broke loose.

I wore a lot of hats at that job but I didn’t know that one of those hats would be selling ads directly to other businesses to help pay for the newsletter I was managing.

This job wasn’t one of those cold-call-all-day, smiling-while-dialing-for-dollars jobs that you see in The Wolf of Wall Street. That job would come later in my resume.

Even though my company had a small list of about 1,000 members, we sold them events, webinars, advertising and sponsorship opportunities mostly with direct mail and email marketing.

Much to my surprise at the time, I grew to love selling. We had a handful of customers who were regulars, and they were just awesome people to work with.

They got their artwork to me on-time. They were pleasant to talk with on the phone. They even paid on-time.

They were a dream.

And then there were those who weren’t a dream.

They weren’t an all-out nightmare to deal with, but for every few who ‘got it’ there were also a few who ‘didn’t get it’ at all.

The ones who ‘didn’t get it’ would ask me tire-kicking questions for weeks, and I would have to hand-hold them through the entire buying process.

And then they would complain to me that their ad didn’t get a response.

First of all, advertising is one thing. Direct response is another. So if you’re looking for a response, direct response is your best bet.

And you’re going to run an ad where you expect a response, for God’s sake, don’t write the same stuff everyone else is writing. Give them an actual real reason to visit your site other than some email promotion that’s ‘This Weekend Only!’

If you’re going to go the direct response route, you need to include an opportunity for customers to submit their information. Years ago, print ads used to do this by simply including an order form right below the ad that you could tear off and mail back.

Today, businesses drive customers to a landing page where they can submit their contact information in exchange for a free e-book, webinar presentation or video.

But do you think your average advertiser wants to spend time creating all that? No.

Rather than spending a little bit of time upfront, they would rather play the same game everyone else is playing, which is force their customers to call a salesperson to beat a sale out of them.

Which in this day and age is a dying process. No one wants to talk to a salesperson. Including me, who used to be a salesperson.

So if you want to measure an ad’s response, make sure you take the time to create something of real value to the customer and that it’s something that you can actually measure.

If you send them a lead magnet that enhances their life just a little bit, and they still want to buy from you, mark that down as a successful response.

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