Hello and welcome to The Listing Agent Lifestyle podcast. My name's Dean Jackson, and today we have a podcast for you. I mean a real podcast. We went over the hour, but I think you're going to agree that this is a really great conversation.
I have Chuck Charlton with me today. I first met Chuck and his wife Melissa about 12 years ago when they moved to a brand new area to start their real estate business, and I’ve been with them the whole way, working very closely setting up and helping them get started with the Getting Listings and Finding Buyers programs, and working all the time to, really without having the name for it, build a listing agent lifestyle.
Chuck is one of my favorite people to talk to. We've worked very closely over a lot of these years, and they've built an amazing business.
I think Chuck is the perfect next guest after you've just heard Tony Kalsi with the most recent four year case study, Chuck is the OG. The original.
When we first launched the Getting Listings program in 2005, or 2006, Chuck was the person who got the first listing from the program, before the course even ended, and has gone on to build an amazing business on the back of that, continuing to add to it.
He's a real student of the game. A real thoughtful, diligent executor, and I'm happy to share this conversation with you.
Transcript: Listing Agent Lifestyle Ep002
Dean: Chuck Charlton.
Chuck: Hey Dean, how's it going?
Dean: Fantastic. How are you?
Chuck: Yeah, I'm good. Sorry I'm a few minutes behind.
Dean: The way we roll is we're recording right now. It's live and broadcast the whole 60 minutes...
Chuck: What everyone would call is the official start and then press buttons.
Dean: No, look at us. This is the way of the self-milking cow. No buttons.
Chuck: No push.
Dean: We don't need to for this podcast.
Chuck: No editing. All right.
Dean: That is exactly right. I’m so excited.
Chuck: I am too.
Dean: Yeah, I feel like we've talked a lot, but we haven't talked a lot and recorded anything. I don't think we've recorded I think since the last ... Since we've told the tale of the very first listing from the getting listings program.
Chuck: That would be 12 years ago.
Dean: Exactly. We got a lot to catch up on.
Chuck: I know.
Dean: You came a long since then. I'm so stuffed right now because this is intentionally, I recorded an intro episode about the Listing Agent Lifestyle, went through all the eight elements of the lifestyle and then yesterday, recorded with Tony Kelsey because we've just finished up this four-year case study where we documented everything and you've seen the infographic for that.
Chuck: I have, yeah.
Dean: What I'm most excited about is that you ... It's like you are the ghost of Christmas future for Tony and that that was you six years ago at that point.
Chuck: Pretty much. Yeah.
Dean: To see what's happened here, you know?
Chuck: It is. It's almost like I built a foundation and then Tony started took it to another level and maybe one of these guys will pick it up and move it to the next level. I love that idea.
Chuck: I love passing the baton and being like, "Hey, you know what? Here's what I figured out?" Then he tries something different and then it just keeps getting better when we keep passing the baton like that.
Dean: I love it. Then we'll have the next guest right after you is Ron Reed who I don't think you've met Ron yet, but he just joined GoGoAgent.com right about a year ago now and went full into the getting listings program and actually got his first listing while he was in his 30-day trial of GoGoAgent.com and then went on to do I think he said $55,000 in his first year from his first MLS.
We'll get the update on that from him, but I'm anxious to hear about you've really been working on this model. Before we've even started calling it the Listing Agent Lifestyle, you've really been on that path for a long time and you've really got some great things dialed in on all of the elements. Getting listings was just the first one. I'm excited to catch up and hear what's been going on for you.
Chuck: Yeah, it's been fun. I'm the secretary of the Lazy Son of a Gun Club.
Dean: Remember that? I was going to tell you that was the first thing, we've always done it of how do you ... It's been a passion of mine for a long time is how do you have a great business and balance that with that amazing life without getting too caught up in it? Because I've always taken a lifestyle centric approach to business that that's really the purpose of business is to fuel your ideal lifestyle. I've surrounded myself with people that enjoy that.
Chuck: I was going to say somewhere in between that lazy automated and Gary Vaynerchuck where it's like hustle 20 hours a day I think is the sweet spot. If you're passionate. You like what you're doing. You obviously want to be involved in that, you want to build something and it takes time to do it, but to just be so unbalanced on the other edge, that's just not my thing either.
Chuck: I've always tried to find that sweet spot where there's time for everything where I'm not missing my kid's dance recitals and my daughter just got her black belt and to be there for those things to me is just so important.
Dean: We're going back all the way. I think what will be a good thing is to draw a timeline from the 12 years because you're in a completely different situation now than you were 12 years ago. You got two beautiful girls right now that you did not have 12 years ago when we first met. You were basically let's pick it up where you were moving to a new area that you didn't really know anybody and let's trace the highlights of the last 12 years because it's been quite an amazing journey for you.
Chuck: Right. I guess and not to reiterate things we've already talked about, but I moved to Milton, Ontario which is a half hour west of Toronto not knowing anybody and really, I always say I aspired to having a neutral $0 bank account. We borrowed from my parents. Line of credit and everything was almost maxed out, but we had this dream that we were going to build something in Milton for real estate.
By the end of the first year, we had hundreds of people on our getting listings list. Did a lot of business for that. Hit a financial goal that we never even dreamed. We've set the goal, but we thought, "I don't know if we can really do this." But we did. Then the year after that, we doubled. All based on the systems that you have. Finding buyers and getting listings.
We just kept lumping in the systems, we started getting some leverage and help. When we hired our first assistant, our business went down funny enough which is not what's supposed to happen, but I think we took our foot off the pedal a little bit because we were tired, we worked through most first couple of years.
Chuck: We got to put all the thrust and the rocket ship happening to get it off the ground and then momentum you start ... Still we had our kids in 2000, our first child in 2008, that's when we really realized that we don't want to find. Grew the team. We probably got pretty serious about growing the team about five or six years ago.
I have gone through all kinds of learning, failing forward thing, but it's a great ... Now there's ... Depending on how you see the role between 10 and 12 people on the team and I remember something that you've shared from Dan Sullivan is that, "What if every time you grew, you had less to do? When would you be through?"
Chuck: It starts to take the hats off one by one whereas in the first ... In 2005 when you and I first started talking, it was like, "I might had 20 hats and now maybe I've got three hats." Those are the ones that I do really, really well.
Dean: What are your hats now when you've gotten it all the way down to what are the hats that you wear on your team right now?
Chuck: Well, I do my Milton Daily Homes which I've been doing for close to eight years and that was again, something that was in our conversations. I sent out the weekly email to our getting listings list which just continues to pay off. Daily for buyers and then weekly for sellers. I help some clients, I still probably help anywhere from 30 to 40 clients a year which is a nice mix for me and then I just work on some of the projects and assistance in our team that move us forward.
Dean: Keep it all moving, keeping everything together. When you look at it that I outlined for the eight elements of the listing agent lifestyle and you started out that element number one is getting listings and these layer on top of each other. Element number two is multiplying listings. That's something that we've really started focusing on in the last couple of years here then the next element is getting referrals and then the next element is converting leads and then the next element is finding buyers, but we have a little bit of a different slant on that now.
Then the three lifestyle elements of daily joy and abundant time and then a financial piece. When you put all of those together and are focused on really dialing all of those up to 11, that's really an incredibly fun business to be part of. I think about it. I watch what you've been able to do over these 12 years and you've really got some amazing things going in all of those elements. You mentioned your ... I was going to say you mentioned converting leads.
Chuck: Yeah, for sure. That's I think one of the big ones that plagues any business. I don't even think it's a real estate thing, but what we've tried to do is just incorporate these scripts and dialogues, that whole idea of the E-Myth where the way I answer the phone is the way someone else is going to answer the phone. There's five questions that we would go through with people, just try and figure out what value proposition it gives them, but we're very systematized.
I think that that really is ... I can really figure out a lot business based on how many systems they have in place. It's almost like it tracks ... You talk about this whole idea of tracking investments and trailing edges and multipliers. I can pretty much guess your income based on looking at your assistance. It's that important to business.
Dean: Yeah, that's the important thing. That's where I've really spent a lot of time looking and defining what the metrics are for each of these to be able to give somebody a track to run on, to know what they're looking at. The health of it. When I look at the progressions here, if we look at just getting listings as an example that most people I would say that people if you're rating yourself on a scale that on the if you're failing in the getting listings arena, people are just wondering and frantically running around chasing trying to get listings in a manual kind of way by door knocking or cold calling or chasing FSBOs or all of these things that aren't really system-based and not certainly attraction-based that it becomes a source of frustration for people.
Having something where you know that like a vending machine that you've got this ability to get listing leads and to overtime nurture those leads so that you've got this pool of people to communicate with who are likely to sell their house at some point. That's really what you've been able to do masterfully even without continually adding new people into that pool. I know for the last few years you've just been doing the weekly follow up with the people who responded overall of the years that you've been mailing.
Chuck: Yeah, mostly what we've done is just had the Milton price report thing on our website and once in a while we'll then essentially a landing page and once in a while we might do a Facebook ad just to collect a few new people, but yeah, that's it. We've got I think about 1,700 people that receive it.
It's just me thing. Here's some report or here's some information, here's an article. We just try and ... I have conversations every week with people so when I sit down with somebody if they're wondering when the best time is to list and all I do is I just tuck away the conversation to my head and then I bring it up, I just write it Monday morning when it's time to… When you're aware of things, even I think with the podcast or anything we're doing, any information publishing, you just have to notice the conversations that you're having.
Dean: Yes. Bring them out. The consistency of it too. Your every week people are accustomed now that they're getting this update on all the information that's happened in their market and whenever they're ready, you've got an opportunity for them to come to the surface and it's pretty interesting.
We talk about thinking about your lead generation and your getting leads as a capital investment versus an expense now and you've shown now over all that time to build up those 1,700 people who have responded at some time to your Facebook ad or to your post cards that that portfolio, that asset that you have of people who are responsive to marketing who have asked you for information about the market are a very valuable thing. Do you know the longest time somebody has gestated before calling you to come and help them sell their house?
Chuck: I'm so bad with that kind of stuff. I really am. It would be ... Yeah, I could count five, six, seven years off the top of my head. I know people that find us in 2010 that I did in conversations with this year. Yeah, it's funny because you were talking about what other agents do about just that grind where it's like, "Okay, you're just calling ... Follow up is basically are you ready yet?" Right?
Chuck: Yeah, exactly the course and into something and what I love about what we do is it's just. It takes some of the thought of the follow up too. Do I follow up in a month or two. People just know that I'm going to show up.
Then all we do is listings. It's very peaceful and it's almost ... It's funny. You sent me a video years ago where there's these guys fishing and the fish they're these kind of fish that are jumping in his boat.
Dean: Right, right.
Chuck: I love that visual that it's just ... That's how I run my business. My job is to just make sure the boat keeps moving and to just deliver when I need to deliver and then the fish to the junk, right?
Dean: ... Well going down that canal, had they just shined the light and the fish jumping the boat. Essentially you've stopped this canal with 1,700 fish and your job is just to consistently ride the boat up and down the canal every week, shine the light and the ones who are ready will jump into the boat, that's essentially what happened.
It's pretty interesting, it's not you chasing people and convincing them to list with you, it's people calling you. Let me ask you that, how does it typically happen? What's a typical scenario of say one of the last two or three listings that you've gotten from your price report emails?
Chuck: I think that ... We use the super signature. We always try and have a good clear next step. We like to provide what options and what they can do. You and I have used the example of, "Okay, they're on the bus." They're going to ring the bell when it's their stop, but I find that they responses back with emails. They'll say, "Hey, I've got some questions." Or, "I'm not sure..."
Dean: ... Have a question about a particular property or that you'll make it okay to engage right? What did that one sell for? Or they start a dialogue with you by either responding to one of the super segment items or just responding to the email.
Chuck: Right, yeah. Most of the time that's how it begins. You're already present in their life. It's just, "Hey, I already know what you're about." To the point where some people you ask about my kids. I try not to say a lot about my kids, but if Vivienne gets her black belt, I'd usually put it out there and say, "Hey, I'm really proud of my daughter." Or whatever the case may be. Just try and make it personal, but not overdo with the personal stuff.
Dean: Yeah, when you think back on getting listings, now have you done what the total commission tally would be? Ball park I knew you had gotten up over a million dollars by the last time we had checked, but do you have a sense with that?
Chuck: Yeah, I would say it's pretty much without having the specific details. My wife does a lot of the tracking in the business. It's definitely a healthy ... It's a six figure return ... Really we're not putting more than a couple thousand dollars into it at the most.
Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chuck: We still send out the intro packages, we wrap them in a nice ... We make them a gift, we drop essentially a gift with the report on their doors. A little bit of a nail box excitement if you want to call it that.
Chuck: Then like I said, maybe just some Facebook ads here and there. For us, we just found that the post cards ... I don't know if it was maybe just me getting fed up with a couple of logistical things with candidate post, but we just stopped that physical piece and just moved it online.
Dean: You've got basically 10% of the market who's responded already basically. After all those years of mailing with 1,700 people, that's a pretty big pool, you got a pretty big footprint in all of the area there. If you were mailing I think you mentioned that you got up to mailing 20,000 homes at one point, right?
Chuck: Yeah, I think at that time it was pretty much we tried the whole town. I recognize the value of doing a niche, a specific townhouse complex and or a condo. For us, we were just ready to scale it up and tried some different things like with newspaper ads and there's a pro and a con to that, you and I have talked about it when you grow it out and make the getting lists program about an entire city versus a neighborhood. You lose things and you gain some things.
Dean: Here's the thing and I've thought a lot about this because the easiest logistical thing is to make it all about to do one thing for all of Milton like you said, but the most effective thing is to niche down the neighborhoods, but it takes a little bit more logistics to do it. O don't know whether I mentioned this to you because I just found it. I'm fascinated with this concept of ghost kitchens. Have I told you about that?
Chuck: Ghost kitchens?
Dean: Yes, it's new. It's a new idea and it just fits. Something when I read it just clicked in my mind that this is something here. Here's the idea, basically I read in Forbes that the headline of the article was nine restaurants, one kitchen, no dining room and it was about how this group in New York and Chicago is running nine restaurants from one kitchen with no dining room that only exists on Grubhub and Seamless, the two big delivery apps.
They're just like moving into where it's only the virtual world, but just think about what that means for them is they've eliminated so many of the things that are the most expensive in a restaurant like having a dining room is one thing, having to be in a high-priced location is another thing that they've been able to side step.
They go in basement space in lower rent area and have the entire space that they're renting is just the kitchen and then all the outward facing stuff only exists in the virtual world. They've got a sushi brand and they've got a burger grand and they've got a pokey brand. All these nine different things that are front-facing that seem like for the person who really wants a great burger for it, that's what they're focused on rather than one restaurant with this big menu of all of those items.
It's just more evident that we really want what we really want. For somebody who's looking for sushi, they're going to really gravitate to a specifically sushi restaurant as opposed to a generalized restaurant that happens to have sushi on their menu.
Chuck: It's almost like in real estate you have this expansion model that's been taking off too right? It's the same idea of one central processing and then you've got nine different areas that may be of service, right?
Dean: Yeah. It's that same ...
Chuck: There's only one…
Dean: One kitchen that's running the back office of everything and that's a fascinating thing to me. I think there's really something deep to that. I think that that's really going to be an amazing part of the future here allowing us to really completely dive into existing online.
Chuck: If I look at all these different parts of the listing agent lifestyle, the getting listings, multiplying listings, getting referrals, converting leads, once you get the system dialed in, I'll be honest, we've had discussions about what's the next area we could conquer with all of this stuff. Once it's locked in and you've proven the model, then why can't it just move out to another area.
Dean: It's going to be interesting because you're going to love ... I'm going to do an episode with Kenny McCarthy who we've been experimenting with going into another area. Now Kenny if you remember has been doing getting listings in Cape Ann north of Boston, ocean front homes on the Cape. There's a thousand ocean front homes and he's been doing, getting listings up there and he just started a few months ago mailing to some luxury condo buildings on the waterfront in Boston like in downtown Boston, an area that he doesn't cover.
He just called me last week and successfully had gotten the first listing handoff to the agent that he's going to work with down there. He's basically from Cape Ann run the getting listings program for those luxury condos in Boston and successfully got into the point where that other person, the ghost realtor got a listing.
Chuck: That's fantastic.
Dean: It really is. Be the pioneer. I think that that's really an opportunity to mogul up. That's really what you have the opportunity to do. Once you dominate your own market and you get everything firing in all cylinders just like what you're talking about, the next opportunity becomes how do we roll this into adjacent areas.
Chuck: Absolutely. I think for most people, it's just, it's the start. Where do you start off? If I were to ask you a question, what would somebody ... How would somebody start off in this whole listing agent lifestyle? What do you think is the very first thing you would do?
Dean: Those are the elements. Those are the order. I thought a lot about this, about the order of how to do it. I think that because there are things that take a little bit of time to get into orbit that you can literally with very little effort get your first oil well established and going because initially you choose the area, you get everything all set up, you start mailing the post cards for the first time.
You start generating all of the people who are the beginning of hour ... You've got 1,700 people now that you've generated over 10 years that you start out with 17 and then the next month you end up and you've got 25 and then the next month you've got 40, you start building that portfolio, you start building that pool of your secret inventory.
This is your asset there. The good news is that you can very much set and forget that like what we've been doing with GoGoAgent.com now is we've even gotten to the point where we can do every element of it four people with our easy button program where they can basically point with their finger where they want to get listings and we can literally do everything for them.
We can get the mailing list, set up the landing page, set up the post cards, set up all the initial packages, do everything for them and mail the post cards. When you get that established, it really is getting this self-perpetuating machine going. Literally, once you do your first transaction, once you get your first sale, Tony it took him five months. You did yours in the first 30 days.
Chuck: 45 I think, yeah.
Dean: 40-45 days. Yeah, Ron Reed did his in the first 30 days. Sometimes it happens that it happens right away, but sometimes it takes a little bit of time, but as soon as you get that first one, now you've got this ultimate dream of this self-funding perpetual motion machine that will continue to generate all those leads.
Have people focus on that first, get your first area whether it's a thousand homes or 500 homes or 2,000 homes or whatever they can afford to sustain the seed money to get to that first transaction and that continues to yield dividends long, long, long term while you then get to work on the next thing which is if you've already got listings to start focusing on multiplying those listings.
That's been something that we've been focused on really for about almost two years now. 18 months or so, this idea of calculating your listing multiplier index. There's been a lot of excitement around that and typically when I share that with people, the typical number that I'll end up hearing is listing multiplier index of 0.8 to 1.5.
That 1.5 is about the highest that I hear when I present that idea to somebody for the first time present it to a group, but now in our world, it's not uncommon to hear 2.5 or 3.5 as a listing multiplier. How have you been focused on that? I know you were sharing that's been one of your things that you're moving forward on now.
Chuck: Yeah, for sure. I don't think there's anything more elegant than doing more with what you already have. It's just a perfect ... I think we've got some of the things in place that we just haven't gone as far as we should. For example, anybody who's subscribed toward getting listings, we categorize them by three things. The number one is the neighborhood they're in, the second one is the type of home that they have and we can just look that up on Google maps or look in the land registry.
Then the third one is price range and this is always a tricky one for me throughout my head around because markets move up and down. Yeah, what we did was we took from the finding buyers program, we took the same price range. It's like price range A and they're always going to be in price range A as they move on the guides in Milton, then they're going to move in the database too.
We just reference back, we almost have a master key to the price ranges and what that allows us to do is we have a buyer looking in either a certain neighborhood or looking for a type of home or a certain price range, we could look those people up. There might be 40 of this, there might be a hundred of that.
I would say that we have underutilized that, we have everything built and it's just been something we haven't been focused on, but it's all there. I think we did a lot of things in the process, touchpoints to create wows and get referral if that goes well. My baseline when we first started talking about this, I was probably close to that 1.5 just because strong listing marketing, a lot of opportunities to ask for referrals and to provide the kind of experience that people would want to tell others about.
Yeah, I'm ready next to get ourselves between the two and three range. I think there's a lot already in place.
Dean: Yeah, we've seen that that's what's possible. Have you created the map overlay for your data?
Dean: Okay, that I think would be a really wonderful visual cue for you. You can export that data from your GoGoAgent.com account and you can overlay it into a custom map on Google maps or it's private, it's just for you, you create your own map layer called listing prospects if you want to call it that or your listing OLS and what it does is it drops a pin on the addresses on the Google map for you so you could see where everybody is and you can determine, you can set up what data you want to show in the card that pops up when you hover on the pin.
When you hover on the pin, it will bring up a little square that will have their name, their contact information if that's what you wanted, the address, their email, it will have the price range, whatever data field that you export from your GoGoAgent.com account will overlay on that pin when you hover it.
That becomes your visual cue for it. That's something that ... We talk a lot about this idea of being a market maker. In order to really raise your listing multiplier index, you have to have that market maker mindset. You have to be able to really see things that are happening below the surface before it becomes evident.
You've got access to information that buyers don't have access to right now. They don't have access to who is thinking about selling their house. They've got access to every house that officially comes on the market. I talked about that in the opening episode of this podcast that I'm really bullish on the future of real estate and what I looked at had this opportunity and had a look back from almost 30 years now, 1988 I mentioned that when I started the state of the art was that had just gotten a fax machine in the office, one of those thermal once with the paper roll.
The MLS was just moving to ... We had a computer terminal in the office where we could access the board remotely and with DOS commands get the latest of when things are entered into the computer, but the public had no idea or access to any of this. Their view on the world was the Wednesday newspaper or coming out and driving around in the neighborhood or looking for open houses.
They didn't have the internet with instant access on their app to every home on the market right now with the entire history of it. Where we've got this kind of information opportunity where you've got 1,700 people that potentially could sell their house this year if you presented the right opportunity to them.
Chuck: Yeah, I just think that ... Yeah, the easier the list is to get the less valuable it is. I share your thoughts. Just last week we heard news that Facebook is going to start moving into real estate. I've just been waiting for it. It was either going to be Facebook or Amazon or Google or someone that's just going to go. It's hard at times to take this over.
Dean: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Chuck: Yeah, Zillow, whoever it is. It's going to happen at some point. Those curated, when you become the algorithm, you become the connection between the buyer and seller. I just think it's huge. Now, we've been treated in the greater Toronto area including Milton. For years, it's been a very strong seller's market, probably one of the strongest in North America.
Things have now I would say balanced off a little bit and it's allowing us a little more breathing room and a little more opportunity to get this stuff going that it's ... When every home selling in a week, it wasn't as much of a priority to do some of these multiplier because I'm going to ask you quick, but I love now that a seller ... Now you've got to say, "Hey, this is really what we're about. They listen to value a lot differently than ... Only a third of the homes are selling versus 80 to 90% of the homes in any given month for selling." That's really going to be a fun thing in 20 team for us coming at it.
Dean: Yeah, if you had that map right now, you could just, that's how you anchor this as a thing, you know on the GoGoAgent.com blog, I've been leading people with this six more market maker Mondays till Christmas thing. I'm trying to engrain this habit in people because it is a change in behavior. There's nothing you can do to really automate this portion of it.
You have to automate the behavior of it, the thought process that you stop and you think about who are we and for you as a team, who are we showing houses to this week. Who's actively going to be out looking at homes right now can then to overlay that map to look at it as a silence inventory thing.
What might be a great opportunity there and just even that little amount of time on Monday looking for it could be an amazing dividend. That could be an amazing yield for you.
Chuck: Yeah, it's …
Dean: Behavior change.
Chuck: It does for sure. I think we're really good at talking about how valuable the list is. I think of it like peanut butter and jam is when I talk to jam, I talk about peanut butter. When I speak with the buyers to say, would you also ... We'll give you access to MLS listings, but would you be open to other opportunities.
We've always thought of that as the onboarding listings that are coming up, but we really have to maximize that whole process lead of that 1,700 list systematizing say with every buyer are we going through that list and making sure there's no stone left unturned.
Dean: I think the three things that we look at, you got the opportunity to look at your 1,700 that you've got as real potential listing prospects. You've got your after units database, your top 150 or 450 organization or however many you have in your after unit now that you can overlay that same thing, you can have a layer of the map with your clients on it to show the type of how everybody should have that same searchability to it that that's really where you get this opportunity to orchestrate referrals as well.
If you can get it all into one behavior cluster where you've got this opportunity to at the same time focus on the cluster of behaviors checking out the ... Getting listings prospects, checking out your top 150 or 450 or however your after unit clients are and even overlaying expired data on a map for yourself where you can see people who have problems that were on the market, but came off and haven't relisted.
That's like a third layer opportunity there that now makes that kind of one, two, three cluster very, very likely to be profitable. If you think about it over the next 50 weeks, if that happened every week what that could wield phenomenal.
Chuck: For sure. I'm looking at this list of all the things you spoke about is the eight parts of this listing agent lifestyle. It's really the only thing that requires some level of thinking. Finding buyers could be automated, getting listings can be automated, converting leads there's the science, there's an art to it as well, but in time you become better at those little fill in points and really listing once your know your scripts, but getting referrals for the most part is a very systematic thing, but it's just taking that.
I think even to some extent, this whole listing multiplier, you can systematize it in a sense that you can say, "Step one, do this. Step two, step three." Giving that time to think.
Dean: You're exactly right. I've been, my biggest thing and I think the biggest realization that I've had in the last say two years, three years is that the closer I can get to where a real estate agent doesn't actually have to do anything, that's the thing that I can get them to do. If I can get it to where they just have to push a button and it happens, that's really the sweet spot.
I look at it that I layer things. I look at it that for each of those elements, there's a baseline layer that can be done with no intervention, without them having to do anything. You talk about the listing multipliers and level one of the listing multipliers is get an infobox flyer with an instant open house landing page, the property PDFs with the flyers and auto responder that sets up to ask people if they'd like to go and look at the house two days after they've opted in.
That little automated cycle there, you just put out the infobox flyers, people go, they opt in. When you look at it, if you ... When you think about what the going rates for a buyer lead is right now, when you look at it that even on the low end, a specific buyer lead might be in the $10 range.
We see if you can get them for less that's great, but if people were to go to buy leads, they'd be paying 20 or $25 for a lead. When you put out an infobox flyer and you get 20 people who ask for something or even 10 people, you've essentially got a $250 value for a couple pieces of paper.
Chuck: Yeah, not only that. I think when you attract those kind of IDX buyers, there's still ... A lot of those people are ... The psychology is …
Dean: Further down the line.
Chuck: Right. There's some people that are like ... Some people already now, but I think for the most part, you've touched base someone who’s started. Somebody who's willing to drive past the sign, grab a flyer, I would say that that's much closer to the goal. If you ask me is a business, would I pay 50 or $100 per lead like that? Absolutely because it's so much more valuable, but people don't think like that.
They think a lead is a lead, but it's not. You've got to look at what kind of bait you caught and what kind of fish you're searching for.
Dean: Yes. I look at those that that was one of the first easy button things that we did is we've got it to now, if somebody just sends us a link to the new listing that they got that already has the pictures, we can do the whole thing for them which is really a cool thing. I try and drive things to that they don't have to actually do anything.
Chuck: How cool is that? The first thing I thought of when you talked about can I get agents to the point where they can just push the button and not do anything. Really what we're talking about with market making is you're trying to do the same thing for a buyer or a seller is. You try to say to the seller, "I've already got the solution to your problem."
You could interview four or five other people that will do some basic stuff we call the 3Ps, let's put a sign out, put it on MLS and then pray somebody brings a buyer or we've got a buyer lined up. You and I have talked with that. That's the ultimate solution. In fact, there's even business models out there that are now being based on that is it will buy your house. Yeah, it's just it's already done if you want it to be.
Dean: I joke about that, but that's like the mother thresher. If I'm going up against three other listing agents and one of them is the seller's mother, they would throw their mother under the bus if you've got a buyer. They would throw their mother under the bus if you've got a buyer for them.
There's not list their mother just because it's their mother, self-interest always wins in that kind of situation. You got to focus on the prize and one of the things that I realized in getting ready to record that, the manifesto episode, the first episode of the listing agent lifestyle is I talked about all the technology and how its changed from 1988 till today where everything is online and we've got access to every property and online, we've got access to all of the buyers and I thought about how technology changes things, but how it also doesn't change things.
I thought about in golf on the PGA TOUR, I did the research on this that in the 25+ years from 1990 till today, the driving distance leader on the PGA TOUR went from 279 yards in 1990 to 336 yards in 2017. Its driving distance has increased by 57 yards through technology. That's really what it is. Driver technology, golf ball technology, all of those things to dial in the flight path and the impact ratios, all of that stuff, but the telling thing is that the scoring average, the actual scores that lead the PGA TOUR have gone down by less than a quarter of one stroke.
Chuck: That's amazing.
Dean: It really is because that totally fits with my, this idea that you can't digitize the last hundred feet of a real estate transaction. It's always a negotiation between at least two completely irrational humans negotiating the market value of the only property like this one in the world right now at this moment.
That is like no matter what, no matter how far you drive the ball, technology doesn't help you cut it in the hole. You still have to be able to read the green and you still have to be able to hone your ability to get just the right stroke on the ball, it's more of a skill. That's really where the difference is.
In golf is you drive for show and putt for dough and I think that when you look at all the things, all the technology that's changed in the real estate world, have the fundamental things really changed, right? Now it's called the fundamental things of real estate by days on market and percentage of asking price. Those are really the fundamental drivers and I would argue that they haven't really changed from 1988.
Chuck: Yeah, exactly. Just play golf more often is what we're talking about, right?
Chuck: Get your market share of golf up a little bit. So much of this can rely on technology, but yeah you've got to ... If you don't have the right mindset on this, think about what they want, that's what I love about all the things he's created is it's really about your perspective person, it has nothing to do with us.
There's some involvement, but it's getting listings at its core, it is very consumer focused product. I love that. There's a lot of integrity there when I step up and say, I'm writing this for you, it's not for me.
Chuck: Things I'd rather be doing right now, but yeah and it's fun. The relationships that get created all the way down the line and I know we don't talk about this a lot, but when you attract somebody based on programs, the long tail, the 10 year version of this is you actually attract the better clients.
Dean: Yes. It's more like… Yeah, build a relationship with you.
Chuck: Yeah, there's much more optics that I can see now 12 years later being in the business for 14 or 15 years that it's like we have client parties and people love what we do and I attribute a lot ... I don't think I'd get the same result since I was just going to go knock on people's door and cold call. I just don't think I'd have the same kind of relationships with the clients as being able to ... Past clients that have said to me, "Hey, you know what? I still watch your Daily Homes episodes even if though I'm not shopping for a home.
Dean: Right. Do you have a few more minutes because I know we're coming up on the hour here, but I'd love to keep talking for a little bit if you got some time.
Chuck: I'm totally cool, yeah.
Dean: Okay, good because we haven't even talked about a couple of the things here. As I'm thinking about it, the way that you have ... You've got a lot of these elements firing on all cylinders here. I think what we've discovered the biggest opportunity for you probably right now is in the listing multipliers, but the ... In converting leads, that's really where you shine.
That's really been the core of everything from my observation of it that you were and having that consistency of doing a daily video with insights on what's happening in the market. Maybe talk a little bit about that and about what you've learned in observing that in yourself.
Chuck: I think if you talked about the profit activators, really what the Daily Homes is where I do a video ... Hosted video blog talking about the homes that have come on the market, it's probably more, it's not as much a conversion tool as it is, educate and motivate, bonding kind of thing, but yeah, we've been doing that. We took our list of buyers that we collected through fighting buyers and website and it's up to 15,000 people right now.
We used to have some pre-programmed email. Go through and they would respond and this and that, but we thought what's the highest level of serving or actually what we've figured out was it doesn't cost anymore to send an email to 500 people that you've hand selected to be receiving communication versus 10 or 15,000. That's where it started. We said, "What if we pretended that they were five star until they proved us otherwise."
Dean: Yes, let's treat everybody like they're five start prospects.
Chuck: Right. That's was where it started. That was all conversations you and I had and what came of that is, "Okay, what's the highest way to serve somebody in that position is buyers want to know ..." The information again is not the valuable commodity, but what is the fact that I've been in 13,000 homes in my life like I know a lot of the floor plans, I know the areas really well.
The thinking was, "What if I just showed up and just talked about them?" Our version 1.0 was we could go to every property and actually film it. I thought, "I can't do that. It's going to drive my day into the ground, but what I do every morning is I wake up and I look at the listings that have come out and just to be able to take what was in my mind and just put it out there and say, "This is what I'm thinking about this home, eight years later it's another one of those consistent six figure, lots of business coach from that site."
Dean: Yeah, year after year after year.
Chuck: Yeah. We've got some nice changes coming out because again, you do something for eight years, you got to shake it up once in a while.
Dean: Yes. I love it.
Chuck: Your logic is...
Dean: I laughed because it's like here's what I admire about you is that you are ... You're not impulsive. You're not going to jump on something and try it and just ... You're not catch and release. You definitely when you do something, you are committing to it and you don't commit to it until you see that it's something that's going to fit and have that long runway.
We talked about the video for a little while before you actually started, but once you started, you've been remarkably consistent on that and it’s become a real pillar of your business and really, there's the thing is you can't digitize the knowledge that you have. You have this unique insight and perspective on having seen, but yeah, who knows how many of the homes in Milton you've actually been in or a model like it or like you said you remember when it was first built.
Your insight on something is beyond what any algorithm can do. Anybody can send people updates of here's the new listing data for today, but you are becoming ... You get to be the alpha and that you have insight that nobody else has especially the buyers. They don't know what you know about those things and it becomes valuable to them.
Chuck: It is, yeah. I remember you shared probably a couple of years ago, a guy named Dave Towell, publishes something. Do you remember that? On his website he says, "I am the algorithm." I love that. I love that thought that I go ... What Dave does is he curates content from all over the internet, his favorite articles and things that he enjoys and puts it out.
It's like here's what I thought would be interesting for you. Yeah, I've really made a conscious attempt to be the algorithm for Milton real estate.
Dean: Yeah, the great thing is that you've gotten it to where the execution of it is minimal and that you're doing what you would do anyway. Every day you come in and you check the MLS and you see what's come on the market and why not check things up so you fire up the camera and give your comments on it. You're looking at it over ... Somebody's looking over your shoulder. It's really such a clean way to maximize what you're already doing.
What it actually does is it does digitize your insight because as soon as you speak it and record it, now it's digital and you can distribute it to thousands of people that watch it every day. There's a lot of leverage in that. What's your workflow on that now because I remember for the first few years you did it all? You dissatisfied that hour of the day to set it up, record the video, edit the video, post it up, post it on the blog, what's your current workflow on that?
Chuck: It's mostly just showing up and viewing the video because that's my unique part of the process. You were on me for years to get a little better at handing off some of the non Chuck magic stuff. That's what I did, it's like eventually I've got on somebody to edit the video to at least write some notes about what was discussed so I can go back and write a post quicker.
I do write the post, I write the email and then I record the session. The first two that I talked about is ... That's a lot of help with that. It makes it pretty clean and simple. I made it out on it most days and less than half an hour.
Dean: Think about what that saves you 30 minutes a day for every day that you do those videos. That's 30 minutes that you could be getting daily joy out of. When we're dialing all the lifestyle elements of the daily joy and abundant time, those are the things that you take the time that you're otherwise spending on things that somebody else could do and driving them to somebody else to reclaim that time for you to replace it with joy.
Dean: I'm so attracted to this inner play of those three concerning the knobs and dials on time and joy and money and really getting that balanced in.
Chuck: Yeah, you told me about those three knobs a while back and at the time I was really off balance and it's just ... When you get it all and I don't think I'm playing it 10 at a 10 with any of these things, I think somebody might listen to this and go, "Oh, well Chuck's built this list and he's been doing it for this law."
There's still, it's an ongoing project. I don't know if it's ever going to be done which is…
Dean: That's the funny part.
Chuck: Right, exactly.
Dean: But the context is still going to be valid. Still 10 years from now, these are still going to be the elements that we're talking about, right? The new ways and the technology and the advancement of being able to balance all of those.
Chuck: Yeah. That's why I think you need to find the joy in it too is within this whole eight things is maybe having an abundant time is maybe not something that everybody wants, but I think the time to do what fills your cottons is really, really important. It's like this that I don't just sit around and do nothing, I don't think I'd be happy doing that, but to be ... Am I doing the things that make me happy? Absolutely. My joy knobs, if it's not joyful, I find myself moving away from it pretty quickly.
Dean: Yeah. That's the whole thing. That's why I look at it that ... I look at those elements as the trifecta of a perfect life. I've often been very careful to always caveat that what I'm talking about is a perfect life, not the perfect life which means that there are seven billion versions of a perfect life.
What's perfect for you is maybe different than what's perfect for me and you get to turn your own knobs and dials to really amplify what you want. For some people, money is the most important thing. They're going to sacrifice joy and time to really turn up the money knob.
Dean: It's such a fascinating game to play when you really look at it like that that it's really ... Everybody has a unique perspective on the way that they want their life to be.
Chuck: Right, but there's different levels of joy. I was at a restaurant last week and it was just ... I remember when I was really in the struggling phases of my life and my career and I would almost to the point where I would be careful how hard I press the gas so that I wouldn't have to fill up my tank as much and I was thinking about how when I go to a restaurant now, it's like there's a little bit of freedom in saying, "I'm not checking price." or little winds in your life.
Yeah, it's just like everything is good when you don't have that. You and I have talked about the whole idea of money really just because of freedom and peace of mind. Freedom shifts is what they are when you are.
Dean: I heard Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank the other day said something I'd never heard him saying he said, "Happiness can't buy money." That is so true. But for some people, it's not ... There's always this temptation to equate happiness with money, that money can't buy happiness. He just said the corollary that which of equally true that happiness can't buy money.
Money is a lot ... There's so many things, if you've got your financial piece button know dialed, that there's a lot of other things that that trickles down to your joy and to your sense of abundant time that you're not. Often people get into this thing that they adversely are affected by these, that they work, work, work hard prospecting on the hamster wheel, they get a bunch of business to fill up their bank account a little bit and that gives them this temporary sense of peace that they're able to now take time off and not do the things that they didn't like to do that got them the business and all of a sudden when the money runs out that now that sense of stress leads them back to now they got to do things that they don't like to do and spend time that they have to get that sense of urgency to get money to get themselves back to a sense of piece.
It's funny when you look at it that the first five elements, the business elements when those are running and perpetual at systems, that's really what leads to the freedom to turn and adjust the knobs to whatever you want.
Chuck: Right. It's funny. Some people are addicted to that in this business. I think in any sales business, they have to feel like they're running on the wheel. I remember there's a guy years ago who used to dominate in our area and as the story goes had some issues with manic depression and I know I choked with a couple of agents. They said, "Is there any better business for somebody in a manic state than real estate, right?"
Constantly, the go, go, go and you sacrifice certain things in order to make that life happen or you come up with a big windfall and you feed off of it and then you got to go back hunting one day. That's exhausting too. What did I love about our business is that rain or shine, the level of stability that comes from some of the things that you've helped us build from your idea, there's no month when there's no transaction. It's just always, it always happens. I love that.
Dean: Yeah, because it's a self-perpetuating. You get it into systemic things that are continually getting more and more valuable and dialed in. It's just such a fun ...
Dean: Business. I'm so excited about the future of real estate. Even though everybody's counting the coming demise of the real estate industry, but I don't see it. I saw a video with Warren Buffet just a couple of weeks ago where he really pointed out the brokerage business has been here for hundreds of years and it's going to be here in the long-term foreseeable future.
We still have to live in houses and we still ... All these things are still there, we're still going to want help with making those things happen and I think it's even more important as we're really coming to value as a society time over everything else. Time saving.
Chuck: Yeah. Look at the travel agents. They're a little further down than we are. I know that I won't book a vacation without speaking to my travel agent because I love her insight. That's not going anywhere.
Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Chuck: There may be less travel agents out there and that might be the truth of our industry is there may be some people who are not committed to things like creating the niches, creating remarkable experiences. I think where my vision for this business is I think it's really, there's a divide between special experience-based business and the transactional fee for service models.
I think that middle ground where people are charging an okay price for an okay experience is really disappearing and you see that in society now too. You see the Amazon where I'll pick it online and read the reviews and I can do that or you go and get a ...
Dean: Have a door step in the morning first thing.
Chuck: We drive there, it's faster, it's cheaper. Everything is in efficiency on that end, but I think there's also those kind of four seasons experiences that people would be willing to pay for, but I think as a real estate agent looking at in the next 10 or 20 years, you've got to ... I believe that you've got to buy in to one of those two models.
Dean: I agree with you 100% that I think if you take a relationship approach, a relationship-based approach to this, that the opportunity going forward, I think that Warren Buffet is for shadowing a potential direction for the real estate industry and that the conspicuous absence of the word real estate or realty in the name of their company, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services that I think this relationship where you look at the after unit, you look at the relationships that you have and you more than anybody have really invested in your after unit and building lifetime relationships with your clients that what it really comes down to, there's only a fraction of the time that somebody is actually in need of the transactional real estate services of selling their house or buying a house, but they're living in their house for all of that time.
There's this I think potential to explore this idea of managed home ownership. That's what crock potting for me and it has been for several years, I'm just looking for the right way to go. When I finally came up with the articulation for it because I had somebody come to one of my Breakthrough Blueprint events I was looking to start that kind of a business.
I after thought said to them, "Here's what I really want is I want to live in my house like I'm a guest in your house." I don't want to think about any of it. I don't want to think about any of the repairs, think about any of the maintenance, I would be completely happy to have a responsible adult own my home and takeover the running of the household. I think that there's ...
Chuck: So funny.
Dean: I think there's really some great opportunity for that.
Chuck: I love that. You and I have talked about it for years. That's exciting.
Dean: That's why I bumped the one-to-one future. I'm open as I keep talking about this that somebody naturally is going to grab. That really resonates with them and they want to be the lead experimenter on that that somebody will come to the future, but I've bumped the one-to-one future back up to the top of my list right now because even though it was written 22 years ago, it's more relevant today and easier to execute today than it was back then. Way out back in 1996 to think about some of the things that they were talking about.
Chuck: That can scale up so much. I've got a friend Dan Jamieson in Windsor, Ontario. He started with the real estate business. An opportunity came up to buy a home hardware store. Anything from kitchen renovations to painting. He purchased that store. Now he's doing custom home building.
These neat little ... We talked about the buyer-seller triangles, it's like he's creating the whole ego system around not just helping people buy and sell homes, but whatever you need, it's starting to develop. I love watching it. Dan runs just an unbelievable business.
Dean: I'll have to meet him. That's awesome. Chuck, we could talk for days. I miss talking with you.
Chuck: I know, me too.
Dean: Yeah. I can't tell you how stuffed I am that we were able to do this on the podcast. I'm excited that this ... I haven't had a completely real estate-focused podcast since Marketing Monday. Now I'm really excited that I've got this platform here. My hope is that we can have frequent conversations here on this.
I love talking to you and I love seeing what you're doing. We just touched the surface on a lot of the things that you're doing, but I think we could go deeper on just one of them for a whole episode.
Chuck: I love what you talk about with Kenny and with Tony and all these great business owner real estate agents that Ron Reed. We've all figured out parts of it.
Dean: Yes. That's the great thing.
Chuck: I love that when you come together.
Dean: Yeah, building this great community around it that everybody's on the same playbook and can share and evolve and I'd spent a lot of time getting the metrics right so that we have standardized metrics that everybody can talk about what's your listing multiplier index and know that if you're at a 3.5 and I'm at a 1.2 that you're doing something different than me and then I can learn from that.
That's the exciting thing. I can't wait to see where it all goes. It's a cool thing, but I'm having more fun than ever. My job knob is dialed up.
Chuck: If the joy is way up. That's the ones in me that's the most important, if you're not having fun while you're doing it, but it's almost what I think about athletics, it's like you're waiting for somebody to break the four-minute miler to Fosbury Flop for the first time.
Dean: That's it. I can't wait for somebody to jump the four listing multiplier index of 4.0. that would be the four minute mile, but imagine the impact of that. Crazy.
Chuck: Sure. Yeah. I can tell you I'm very good at flopping. It's progress and perfection too or you're better today than you were yesterday and if you get enough of those lined up, good things will happen. This kind of step doesn't happen overnight.
Dean: I love it. One last question, what's on your bookshelf right now? What are you reading?
Chuck: Oh boy. It's not real estate related, but I've been fascinated by this whole human history. There's a book called Sapiens by a guy named Harari who's ...
Chuck: Yeah, it is absolutely riveting and he takes it all the way back and how we spread throughout the earth and our impact politically, how those systems developed, it's a great book. I love it.
Dean: Awesome. I'm in. All right Chuck, I always enjoy it. Thank you so much.
Chuck: All right, thanks.
There we have it, wow, what an amazing conversation. I really enjoyed that. Time flies. Here's what I'd love to do. If you want to continue the conversation here is go to listingagentlifestyle.com, you can click on the be a guest link on the top of the page and let's talk about your business, let's talk about building your Listing Agent Lifestyle.
I'm happy to focus on helping you identify the best path, the systems that you can work on to implement all the elements of this Listing Agent Lifestyle. If you'd like to join the community with us, go to gogoagent.com. That's where I have all of the tools, all the ready and done for you things to execute the Listing Agent Lifestyle elements. We've got the getting listings program and the getting referrals program and the finding buyers program and the converting leads program and multiplying your listings.
All of those things, I've got all of these tools that we've been working on for all these years and gathered them all in one place and then building an amazing community of agents who are focused on building this Listing Agent Lifestyle and I'd love to have you join us. Just go to gogoagent.com, come on in and see what we're up to. I can't wait to meet you.