Today, we're talking with Sean Corder from South Carolina. Sean's been working with us since 2012. He started out with a money-making website and has built his business doing the Getting Listings program and the world's most interesting postcard.
We had a great conversation about some of the ideas he can use to focus on combining the buyer side of his business with the listing getting side and looking to be more of a market-maker. He's in a very popular area with a lot of out of town buyers, the seasonal vacation market. I think being at the beach is not going to go out of style in the next 10, 20 years. It's a long-term trend that’s only going to continue.
We had a great conversation about this long game approach. You're going to enjoy this.
Transcript: Listing Agent Lifestyle Ep009
Dean: Sean Corder.
Sean: Dean, how are you.
Dean: Hi doing. How are you?
Sean: Well, I'm doing pretty well. A little brisk here again at the beach, but we're going to make it I think.
Dean: Yeah, I'm in Florida. First time I've ever seen this in a long time.
Sean: About 24 degrees out there right now.
Dean: Awesome. Well I am excited that you're here. Welcome to our listing agent lifestyle podcast. We're having so much fun with this, catching up with everybody going down this listing agent lifestyle path.
Sean: Well I guess I'd say I'm excited too. I've never done a podcast, so this will be my first.
Dean: Well look at you. Let's start with, can you catch me up here on kind of what's been happening so far because we've known each other now for a few years. You've been with us for... When did you start...
Sean: I started in March of 2012.
Dean: Okay. March of 2012.
Sean: Yep. And I kind of found you through, I'd been doing some research on direct response marketing through different, well, really through Dean Kennedy and reading a bunch of stuff and then I found Joe Polish and I think I ended up on the I Love Marketing podcast.
Sean: And one thing led to another and that's kind of how we got together. Back in the day.
Dean: Here we are. Cool.
Sean: And here we are.
Dean: So let's talk about what's going on right now. Like what kind of things have you implemented that are on, you know, firing well, and where do you think we can kind of build on that? Where do you think we could kind of focus?
Sean: Well, before, of course I was a little concerned because I mean I kind of knew what we were going to talk about, but didn't know exactly, but I sat down and kind of wrote down my transactions from last year and how they came about...
Dean: Okay perfect. That's a good start for your numbers.
Sean: Well, yeah, I at least know where they're coming from. I'm not as much of a detail person as what I should be, but I kind of know in the back of my head what's happening. But I've implemented and since the beginning we got started with the buyers and that was my main focus and had been really up until you know, last year at the conference. You know, so now that's where all the investment went, in building that since 2012. Which still is doing well today. The listing side is not something, I mean I wasn't able at that time, in fact it was just getting started with the buyers side. I mean, I basically started from scratch. I'd been in the real estate business for a number of years, but because of the way the economy had gone and some things that I had done, I had kind of gotten more into the investment side of things and when the market fell out, I didn't have anything really to... I didn't have any other base to fall back on.
So I went, I mean I had experience, but I went from the top, not at the top, but up to the bottom you know, pretty quickly. So I had to start from zero, you know, when I started with you. Then just build it up slowly along the way. The listing side was the one where, because to do it it takes a little bit of a capital, you know, a commitment to be able to keep it going. That's the one that I had the kind of the most difficult in the beginning. So you know, I focus on the buyers, but over the past year and a half I've gotten to where I can really focus on that. And my goal has been to keep sending the postcards out and keep sending the... Last year even though I sent them all myself, last year, every single month somebody got a, you know, the lead that I did have and some of them go back to 2012. The leads that I did have all got a monthly packet.
Dean: I love it. Your seller leads. They all got the Get Top Dollar newsletter.
Sean: That's right.
Dean: And the updates.
Sean: Yep. Every single month. I had somebody else that had helped me and updated it all, but I had to make a change there, so I didn't have the updated newsletters and stuff so Diane's been, every single month we've gotten an updated newsletter and a updated letter through the Easy Button.
Dean: Oh that's perfect. Good. Good. That's exactly what I've been... That's exactly why I started offering people that because you're in exactly that situation where maybe you don't need a full time assistant to do all kinds of other stuff, but at least you've got this Easy Button that we could do the recurring things for you. That's great.
Sean: Well and that has made it easy. She can even set the postcards, you know, and I haven't really had to worry about that and even update it. That's the big thing, is you know, I've noticed. There's so many moving parts in the real estate business, you just get used to doing them.
Dean: Right. Right.
Sean: I mean, just like a listing. You don't realize when you go out and list a property, all the other... All the ancillary tasks that go into getting it up and running and getting the information is a chore.
Dean: Right. I get it.
Sean: So that's definitely been a help as far as because I don't know how to make the individual property websites, even though the thing. I still don't even know how to do it and it would take who knows how long it would take me to sit down and figure it out.
Dean: Right. And of course this is the whole... This is what my team does every day all day. And that's the thing is when you get to a point where, you know, we talk about as one of the elements of the listing agent lifestyle, we talk about abundant time and the only way to have abundant time is to almost be like a hoarder of it. You have to be very careful of never doing the things that somebody else could do for you at a lower level than what your time is, you know? So that's making all the right moves there.
Sean: I was gonna say, that's what I've shifted to. I had mentioned in like the last call or whatever, I've actually, I have hired somebody to help with other stuff because I have a rental side of my business too. And it's a struggle sometimes with that because you look at the money that comes in versus the time, but it's what has allowed me the stuff that I've done consistently with investment on this side and growing the listing and selling side, it's what has really helped me do that. I've had that... I've been basically able to live off of that and any extra money I've got, I've just for the most part reinvested.
Dean: Reinvest and build. That's perfect.
Sean: But I've written down most all my numbers here. At least from last year.
Dean: Perfect. What have you got?
Dean: I love to look at it. Most of the time, people, we go through... How about... You want me to kind of quiz you as we go down this... Why don't we see if we can fill in the way that I look at analyzing numbers here?
Dean: So, most of the time, what the one thing that people know is the top line numbers. They know, how many transactions they did, how much gross commission is there, that's the sort of the starting point.
Sean: I've got those. At least I think I do.
Dean: All right. Hit me with what we got here.
Sean: Let's start with the just... I guess let's go with the 30,000 foot level and just talk about the getting listings kind of... Because I actually went on my QuickBooks and I pulled up what I've invested. So what happened is I started in 2012, and it's kind of neat because I can see in the months that I've sent it, but in 2012 I only sent 2 months worth of postcards because I haven't been consistent. And then there was even a period where I wasn't even sending the monthly packet. So my return is probably nowhere near what it should've been or could've been. But, what I have done is, since 2012 and then last year starting in about I think it was March and then there was two months I skipped in the summertime, but last year I was pretty consistent with the postcard and getting...
Dean: We got together in February.
Sean: That's right. That's correct. Starting in March, the postcard went out and then I skipped two months in the summer, but then every other month, the postcard went out. So... And I've just pulled out the area that we've talked about is Surfside because my brother was thinking about getting in at one time and there was another area of town, so I've pulled all that out because he had actually invested in there. So I'm just looking, strictly the stuff that I've done. So in Surfside, I've invested a total of $12,800. Right about there.
Dean: Overall, since 2012.
Sean: Yeah. Since 2012 and honestly the bulk of that was last year. 88 leads have come about that. Totaling, now I did two transactions last year. One that was from a lead from 2012. The other that was from May of last year. Then I had done one in a previous year that was from 2012, I think two years ago or a year and a half ago. But anyway, the total return, or gross return has been $30,447. So I've basically doubled my money or over doubled it. And there's other folks, I'm talking with somebody right now that's an older lead and been getting updates for a while. So there's probably more out there and then there's some that I've missed. The ones that I always seem to... And this is talked about a lot on the call and it gets frustrating, but the one that you always seem to miss is the person that just signed up a month ago or two months ago. You know?
Dean: Right. Yeah.
Sean: And you know, you haven't had a chance to build a relationship, but for the most part, if they've been getting the stuff for a while, it's more like just to pick up the phone and go out there and take the paperwork with you kind of deal.
Dean: Right. When they call, it's the, "Hey we're ready, when can you come on out?" Yeah. I get that. 100%. You're absolutely right.
Sean: Then it's the same thing I've typically experienced with the buyers side as well because that can be frustrating and we've talked a lot about, you know, my business is a lot different than a lot of folks because people are out of town. You know, a lot of people, they work in town and see the people at the grocery store and so on and so forth. A lot of times, the first time I see somebody is when they show up in my office. But we've had email and phone conversations. And I've had people that I've never even talked to, but have been on the weekly market watch list and they call and they say, "We'll be down in March and we want to buy a house."
Dean: I love that. You know, so it's interesting. I'm kind of looking at the... I'm comparing this to Tony Calsee. So if we say that starting in March, that you mailed out since March, but two months skipped in July and August, I guess the summer months. Okay. So you've... Let's call that March, April, May, June, September, October, November, December. So nine months, or eight months so far. Right. Eight monthly mailings there. And I've looked at Tony's, you know, this great chart that we did the infographic for the case study and what was really fascinating about this is if I look at one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, at eight months in, Tony had done his first, he did his first transaction and then he did his second in the ninth month, but looking at the chart, it was really kind of parallel. It looked like he had just over doubled his money in the first more than that with the first transaction and but he did it in the six month, you know?
Sean: That's kind of where I'm... I mean I had the one sale. Really from when the postcards started in March of last year, I had the one sale and I probably invested about, well if you did... It's a little, it's about $1,300 a month for the postcards. So what is that, $1,300 times eight? That's eight and 24, so about $10,000 or so dollars in postcards last year and that one sale was $16,290.
Dean: There we go. So that's the way I look at that. Like I reach that number escape philosophy, right, like you've reached now, like that point is, you're above the line. You're profitable already on it and if we're just looking at capital stuff, it's really, it's self-sustaining, now that it's at the point where you're still going forward, but you have the 88 people who are getting your monthly newsletters. What was really very interesting to me about looking at Tony's four year results here is how many transactions came over this four year period, transactions from people who responded that first year over the next four years. When we look at it now, you have, you know it seems like you know, you've done eight mailings so far, maybe nine, by now, that the reality of that is that the first people who responded in March have not even been on a year yet. And that's where it really gets fascinating here to watch, is watch the compounding effect of all of this. And I just love that. That you're in that stage right now. So that's exciting.
Sean: Well and that is exciting and we'll get to this other part in a second, but the thing that... And it took me a while and I've just had to go through kind of a personal mental shift. And I've heard you kind of allude to it, maybe a little bit with Julie Matthews, but maybe it was the other direction, but because I was so into the investment side, I haven't always been as focused on the real estate side as what I need to be. And then when I sat down, I mean I would buy a house and fix it and sell it and you know, make $30,000 or $40,000, but it would take the effort and the time that it would take. I sat down and I was like golly, I could make that and I could... By selling housed with a whole lot less risk. And it's something that's easier to build for a base.
The base is after the bottom fell out, having some sort of base is what became very apparent. It was required to make it in this business and I've got, I mean, I sold, when the market was really good, I was selling condos, and if I had had this back then, set up right, I just wasn't set up right to where I was staying in touch with people that I had sold the condos to and so on and so forth. Now, I've gone back and picked some of that up with the postcard. The world's most interesting postcard. And I'm sure at some point I'll get one of them. I'm sure. But the thing is, as I've seen the kind of like the buyers side grow out, because what I've done is you know, I've sold houses to people several years ago that are now picking up the telephone and calling and saying they bought a house and they now want to sell it. And that kind of thing, when you think about the listing side and the multiplier, you know, the listing multiplier, I've never been focused on that in the past and that's my... It's the weakness. There's no doubt about...
Dean: That's funny. We're doing our Thursday call, today, is going to be all about the listing multipliers.
Sean: I saw that and I'm going to have to listen to it on the thing. I've got an appointment a little bit later.
Dean: Yeah. It'll be on the blog.
Sean: I'll definitely be tuning in. So that was my... So far kind of the listing side and that is, I mean, I did, like you said, I did have some older leads, but really trying to focus on it and make it happen every single month like it's supposed to. Really last year, after the conference is when I started you know, doing that. So I'm not in year one, but I'm kind of year, I'm one-ish.
Dean: Right. Exactly.
Sean: That's done one-ish.
Dean: Yeah. Your market, I think you're probably... When is the big time that houses all come on the market in your world?
Sean: It'll start here. It's pretty traditional for the most part. Except for, you know, some of the stuff, the seasonal rental stuff, it actually it can kind of be opposite because there's rental investment there and people want to capitalize on all of the full season of the rental, so it can run, really right now is a better time for it, for the serious buyers. So that's kind of where...
Now the other thing, when I was picking my area, and I don't know how much this has had an impact, but a part of the area I picked, it is mostly a seasonal portion, that kind of where my office is at and everything there is higher end, even the stuff that doesn't look like it. You know, a small three bedroom, two bath house will sell for $300,000. Just because you can walk to the beach. But there are a lot of seasonal rental deals and we've kind of talked about them. In fact, I think we talked about it last year at the conference. These other folks kind of have a track, these raised beach houses, the real higher dollar stuff, I kind of have an inside track with those. I did sell the one... The one that I sold last year, it actually was somebody that it was just strictly a second home. But I will say this, he had had calls from other agents and talked to other agents, and I had never talked to him before, but the reason that he decided to let me help him with the sale was because of the package of information that I sent him.
Dean: Yeah. And I want to push the pause button right there for a second because I want to really just highlight the gravity of that. That we're in a situation that there are so many people who are completely focused online and I mean, I love being online. I love being online. I think it's absolutely crucial and I think that where we have the opportunity to make the biggest impact is to in addition to being online, bridging that with some physical presence in their mailbox. You know, there's nothing like... That's something that people will save, right? They'll keep it and they keep it aside and they build their file. They're not going to throw it out because it's valuable information for them. They're going to review it and it also builds physical, mounting evidence that you are acting as their real estate advisor. You're not just setting them up on some automated, you know, update that goes out like from a machine. You are physically taking time and money to be their advocate and that doesn't go unnoticed.
Sean: Every single one has said that and I mentioned this on the last call, I think with the online thing, so many realtors, nowadays, they get... If they don't get an email address from somebody, it's like they don't want to have anything to do with them, but that's going to be 99% of real estate agents out there. The person that I sold to, I didn't even have an email address from them. If it hadn't been for the postcard that was sent to them and them going to the website and filling it out, I would've never known that they were even interested in selling their house. I would've never gotten that. But then I sent the couple... He called me after he got the package and then he kind of told me what his plans were and so on and so forth and you know, it worked out just like we had talked about it. And I never had a... I mean I didn't have an email address from them in a long time.
Dean: I can't tell you how many times that unfolds like that. Like people tell me exactly that and that's what happened with Julie, you know, when we first started doing the lakefront homes. The very first call that she got was after the very first mailing and the guy... She played the voicemail message for me because he left her a message and said, "Hey, I live over on the Lake, I got your postcard and then I got your package and it looks like you're serious about selling some lakefront homes. I want you to come over and list our house." And that was it. There was no like, hey we're talking to a bunch of people or we're... The first introductory call was, we want you to come over and list our house, and so that was pretty encouraging. You know, but it happens all the time. I post those up on the Go Go Agent blog. I've had a couple of those from Kenny McCarthy in Cape Anne, that he sends them to me. People saying, hey we got your stuff and we're ready to sell.
So I love to hear that and you're on the right track and you have that investment mindset right? That you're building this capital asset right now of 88 people who you know at some point in the next 12 months, 44 months, 48 months at some point, those are going to mature into come list me calls, which is fantastic. That's a wonderful thing.
Sean: Yeah. That's kind of exciting.
Dean: You started like you were, you had some... You wanted to go down a path.
Sean: Well, I was going to say, my buyer stuff, which I really... Because of the thing with the ad words, I did fill in invest with ad words last year, probably about $300 a month, but I mean, I have invested a lot, in fact I pulled it up. Since 2012, $56,300, but now I didn't pull up my total sales from that, but just last year, off of that, I did $28,227.
Dean: You're talking cumulative numbers there.
Sean: Yeah, I've got... That's been going since day one. That number would be probably three or four times that at least, I would say, since day one.
Dean: Of what you've earned on that.
Sean: Right. Yeah, I've had a multiple of that well above the... I mean, I got 50% of it back last year.
Dean: Yeah. There you go. Perfect.
Sean: And that... But the cool thing about that is...
Dean: …Triangulating now.
Dean: You have the value.
Sean: That's where I've always struggled or struggled a little bit in the past. I know I probably need to find a way to do it in the future because Surfside is where I've been sending my listing postcards, but I'm not really trying or was never really set up that way from the beginning. It was Myrtle Beach and the larger area. And I've thought about just going down and making me a strictly a guide to the Surfside area beach house prices and finding a way to advertise that. And at least I have it, but I still have the other guide too for the larger area.
Dean: Yeah. And there's part of the thing is that idea of creating those guides. We use them for everything. I mean you can have certainly a guide to the overall market, right, like to the area for people coming from out of town who don't specifically know what the lay of the land is and they don't know the difference between Surfside and whatever other neighborhoods there are and what you can get in the whole Myrtle Beach area there and then you can also do very specific guides. Like we did the lakefront house prices guide. Or you could do the condo guide or the active adult community guide or the golf course communities here. You can specialize. You can narrow it down. And then have what I call looking for category buyers. I think I remember we talked at the GoGo Academy last year about these, what did you call them, raised...
Sean: Raised beach houses.
Dean: Raised beach houses, right? That is a category that that's what somebody is looking for, right? In their minds that is the vision of what it is that they want and so to have a guide to raised beach house prices is exactly the thing that somebody who's looking for a raised beach house would be attracted to. So the idea... It's almost like we were talking about with the... We see that with Kenny McCarthy at Cape Anne, he's been doing getting listings on the oceanfront properties there and then running buyer ads for people looking for oceanfront property on Cape Anne. And then same thing in South Beach. You know, oceanfront condos. And the guide to oceanfront condos. So I think that's kind of a really great opportunity for you. I'm excited because I'm going to be talking at the Academy this year about some new Facebook things that we're testing where one of the... Especially for you, this could be valuable, one of the audiences that you can select in Facebook is you can run ads that are targeted to people in any age group, income, geography, but you can also do a search, an audience of people who are in Myrtle Beach right now, but they're visiting from at least 125 miles away.
Dean: So you can run ads that only show to people that are here right now, but they don't live here.
Sean: And you can break them down by demographic?
Dean: Yes, you can break them down by age and income, yeah.
Sean: That would be kind of valuable.
Dean: It is. Exactly. So we're doing that kind of thing right now because I'm doing a lot of work with active adult communities. So you can do that. So there's lots of now ways that you can triangulate. I don't know if you've ever seen these carousel ads, the way that they show up on Facebook, where you can have multiple pictures and one that kind of scrolls, so you could highlight some files of those raised beach homes and have people click for the guide to those beach homes. So you're narrowing down specifically the people who are attracted to that.
Sean: Yeah. That would be valuable. Pretty interesting for sure.
Dean: Especially because now you've got, now you're becoming an active participant in finding buyers for the specific types of homes that you're building up this secret listing inventory for, you know.
Sean: Right. Yep. Yeah. I'll be interested to see about that for sure.
Dean: Are you... How may are you mailing right now for getting listings?
Sean: Well, total, let me see. I got my computer here. I'm mailing two areas, but just... I've had some of those have of course bought and I don't continue to mail the monthly packet to, but if I do Surfside and then...
Dean: I guess what I'm asking is, are you doing it by area or are you also doing it by...
Sean: Oh are you talking about the number of postcards I'm sending?
Dean: Yes. Exactly.
Sean: Oh. I mean, I've gone on to an area and it's the town of Surfside Beach and I believe it's, well I know it's about $1,300 a month, but it's about 1,000, no, it's more than that.
Dean: It's gotta be more than that.
Sean: It's about 1,800 mailers or postcards a month.
Dean: Okay. Good. And you're mailing to their tax address? Like the home address? Not the property, right?
Sean: No, I can't do the property because there's too many out of towners.
Dean: Right. Exactly.
Sean: But I've got 77 people that are in that group and I've got about another 60 that are in another area of town that I also mail, but I didn't put those numbers into this because it was a little different. You know, I still do that as well.
Dean: Are you mailing specifically to the type of home? To those raised beach houses?
Sean: No, I mean, I'm mailing basically to the town of Surfside beach and you'll have I mean the raised beach houses of course in there, but I've just gone in, you know we can go on this site that we're subscribed to through the real estate do's and whatnot and we can draw out an area and we can hit the button and get the addresses.
Dean: I love it. Okay. That's perfect. Good.
Sean: So that's what I've done with that.
Dean: I like it.
Sean: And now, I will say, I'm still going strong, not stopping, but it has been a slow response the past several months, but that's normally kind of like that...
Dean: Over the winter, nobody's really thinking about it.
Sean: Right. Right. Hopefully that'll pick up here over the next couple of months as well. So, what I was going to say, I did... I mean, two of my buyer transactions, two of them were from 2014, one of them was from 2015. So it's just a constant, somebody just shows up when you least expect it. Now, when I had... Kind of the little bit of the exciting part, and we talked about this, I had not sent the postcard, the world's most interesting postcard. Right. And this is where I go back and I look at things, I mean, it's where the real big deal is, but I know for a fact that the postcard generated three sales. That generated $16,000, it cost about $2,500. But I also have another just from people that I've sold stuff to in the past, that also got the postcard, you know, just other after unit transactions, that it's more than nine transactions, because some of them are smaller, but I just grouped them in by client and number, but anyway, nine that totaled about $31,000.
Dean: Wow. That's awesome.
Sean: So, and then...
Dean: I know how you're cautiously saying this, right, like so here’s the thing, when you say that there were nine that totaled $31,000. Are those three within that nine? Or is that...
Sean: No, no. That's 12 total. That's 12.
Dean: Okay. 12 total. And I know that part of your saying, like the thing to look at is how does that compare to the year before and the year before that? So when we're looking at your after unit, you know, all of your top 150 or how many people are you mailing to?
Sean: About 200.
Dean: 200. So your top 200 that you have there, when we look at that, that's really where... That's the baseline here, so we look at it and see that you know, what have you been doing historically with that from that group of people that would be kind of repeat or referral business?
Sean: I had sent a printed newsletter before.
Sean: I've always had some repeat business, you're always going to have that, but I've never... I mean, I've sent the newsletter for a number of years. And you would run into people and they'd say, well we like getting your newsletter and so on and so forth, but... And the same thing with this. I know, for instance, the ones that are in the nine, it's not that they're directly contributed to, but I've heard some at one time or another mention getting the postcard, getting your postcard. So they get it, you know, and it's just a... They may not come out and say, oh we called you because we got your postcard, you know? But it still works.
Dean: That's my point. Is that what we've done is we're establishing a pattern that's very subtle, but makes a difference. I look at it that the way that we talk about why the world's most interesting postcard works as a referral generator is because we're presenting the same pattern every month. We're saying, just a quick note, in case you hear someone talking about this, and we're going to insert a different high probability conversation there. Then we're saying a little bit about why they might hear that now and then if you do hear someone talking about that, give me a call or text me and I'll give you this to give to them. So that pattern of every single month, them being presented with a new instruction really, is what it is, it raises the time that when they hear somebody talking about real estate, they immediately think of you because you've been on their mind like that, right? We're planting that seed.
Even if it isn't the apples for apples comparison. Where you're saying it was direct that they got your postcard and they called you because they are talking to somebody that matches exactly what you talked about on the postcard. But what ends up happening is that it raises the frequency that when they do hear conversations about real estate, they're not just now blindly going through, or not even noticing that the conversation is about real estate, they notice that it's about real estate and they think about you, which automatically raises the chances that they're going to remember that you're encouraging them to call you. Right? So that's raising the number of times that that happens, even if it's not overt like we talk about, you know? But you said, for sure, three that you know for sure came from that. Talk to me about one of those stories. So how do you know that happened?
Sean: Well two of them, I just know, two of them are from church. One of them, you know, said I got your postcard in the mail and so and so is looking to sell, I'll tell him. So that's one, but the other one that you'd like to hear about is the one that was sitting on the end table, the coffee table.
Dean: I like that. Yes.
Sean: And they had called shortly after the postcard went in the mail. Things like that, you'll get... Somebody will say, for instance, I mean the postcards, I'm sending out a touch later this month, because of the new year, normally I send them out at the first or the second, but it probably didn't get done until the fifth or the sixth this year, or this month. But I had one of my past clients call that they're going to be selling their house that I sold them a couple of years ago that was a buyer client from original. So that will be kind of like a... And they were worried about scratches on their floor. So that's another... You know, I went out and looked at scratches on the floor and told them they didn't have anything to worry about. They weren't really scratches.
Sean: But they picked up the phone and called and I'm sure at some point here in the not too distant future, we'll be putting that house on the market.
Dean: Right. I love it.
Sean: The after unit is the easiest, the real easiest portion of the whole deal. Because those are folks that you already... They're already clients that you already have a relationship with, there's not any of that trying to get to know people or they already to how you work and who you are and I mean, it's just easy.
Dean: Yeah I like it.
Sean: You know, rolling into this year, I mean right now, I've got one, two, three, four, five that would be repeat type transactions and then of course, one buyer that goes back to 2015. So far.
Dean: I love it. So that's awesome. You're getting everything... It's nice when you start building that momentum, you know, because now you start to think, when you cross the finish line in March, here, where it's one year of mailing the listings, now you're going into it with not only the momentum that you're continuing to do it, but you've got now that pool of people that you've already generated and you're continuing to build on that and some of them, after gestating for six months or 12 months, now's the time, you know they called last spring, but now this is the spring that they're actually going to sell. So, I'm excited to watch this unfold and I'm just going infographic and tracking crazy here because I'm just so enamored with seeing the actual results and the concrete evidence that it just continues to build over time. You know.
Sean: That makes two of us. And I'll tell you, you know, for some reason it's a mental... I don't know why. It's a little bit of a mental thing because it's almost like you got a little more mental satisfaction with investing the money in the buyers and then you get the email in because you send out the weekly market watch and then you get more... A lot of times you get more communication. Even though it may be through email. But for some reason it seems, and I've... It's just more mentally gratifying. I guess. It's better to get listings. The buyers are harder to work with but the listing side can feel a little bit like, well I'm spending the money on the postcard and I'm going to send these things and then something might happen or it might not happen, but when it does happen, if you're sending the postcards in the right area, you know, the listings should be adequate to where it covers.
Dean: Now, from the excitement level kind of goes like...
Sean: It's something that you just do.
Dean: Getting listings on the boring level, but you've got the buyers a little more exciting and it’s...
Sean: Well, I think it's more involved because the buyers there's the work up... When you're working with the buyer there's a work up and you're talking to them, what do you want to buy, but the sellers, when they get ready to sell, they're just ready to sell and there's not as much preliminary, I guess, stuff, which is, I'd rather have 100 sellers I think than 100 buyers.
Dean: True. Exactly.
Sean: Now the listing multiplier is the weakness.
Sean: For me. There's...
Dean: Let's talk a little bit about that because when you calculated your listing multiplier index, what would you come out at?
Sean: I think, if you listed 10 and sold nine, you'd be a point, nine?
Dean: Yes, that's right.
Sean: Okay. I think that's probably about where I'm at at the moment.
Sean: At least over the last 10. I had one and I can't even believe that I... Log story, but anyway.
Sean: But anyway, I think I'm a .9. Now, I mean, I hadn't done anything to try and multiply and you're right, when you sit down... And even back when I got into the real estate business, years ago, working the listing that you have, whether it be picking up the phone call you know, the old fashioned way, picking up the phone and calling everybody in the neighborhood or whatever you're doing to generate leads off of that listing is really the most valuable thing that you can do, but I feel like, for some reason, we miss it all the time. You know what I mean?
Dean: Right. And especially in situations where the market is doing better. You know, especially when you know that if you just price it right, and put it in the MLS, that it's pretty much money in the bank in the next 30 or 40...
Sean: The thing is, when you start to look at it the other way and you start to look at the... And I'm still gonna advertise it and look to get buyers or at least leads, but you actually kind of get a little frustrated when... Because and I knew it was gonna sell quick. Sometimes you know... So it sold within two days. Just because of where it was at and so on and so forth but I'm still gonna try and get some buyers off of it or at least leads off of it. I hadn't... You know, see if I can't do something else with it, but I had not been focused like that before and you spend so much money...
Dean: Sometimes even that awareness, you know, even the awareness of it lights a little bit of a fire under you. When you realize that... What is the average commission amount that you end up getting for one side of a transaction?
Sean: Well average in this market is probably around $5,000.
Dean: Okay, we can look at it. You know.
Sean: It just depends, but anywhere in... Somewhere in there.
Dean: If you look at it that... If we take our five outcomes, where it gets sold, you find the buyer, you find a buyer that buys another property, you get another listing in the neighborhood and you get a referral from the seller, if all five of those things happen, then each one of those listings is worth $25,000 instead of the $5,000, you know? And that's what we're really playing for, but over that 10, it looks like now, instead of you made $45,000 on those 10, nine that sold times $5,000, but you ended up losing out on $205,000 with the other transactions that could've happened, right? So that's kind of a... That's why I always put that up there that for people, have them phrase it that you're losing $205,000 on this.
Sean: Right. And the crazy thing is you'll spend a ton of money trying to generate the next listing when you have a listing. It's cheaper to market that listing than what it is to... I mean you still gotta be generating a new listing, but it's just easier because you've got the one listing in hand. You know. So it's... Even if you can double it. I mean, when you sit down and you look at your... You gotta get fewer listings if you can double your... If you can do one more transaction off of each listing, I mean, depending on what your income goals are, I mean, you get there a whole lot easier I guess.
Dean: When you look at it now, I don't know whether you've heard about the guy who is at 2.8 now on his listing multiplier index, Tony's up over three on his, so we'll see when we get together in February, we'll see what the closest is of the listing multiplier index. Let's just say, I mean, even if you got... You know, if your listing multiplier went up to two, that would've been an extra deal.
Sean: Five times 10 would be 50, it's be an extra $50,000, at least. Probably more. It'd be more for the stuff where I work.
Dean: Yeah. It'd be $55,000 more. And so you look at that and so this is where some of these things, I look at... I always look at what's the easiest possible way, the things that we can do to get the biggest impact right away. So we look at it, the thing that we've had really great success with is the info box flier, right away because that is virtually free. You put that out there right away and we set up the instant open house landing page and people leave their name and their email address and we've got it set up to automatically send an email inviting them to come and look at the house so that alone is huge. Set it and forget it as you can get. You know. That's something that certainly with our program is just a quick email. You know, here's my new listing and as long as you send the link to where the pictures are, we can set it up. Send you back the PDF of the info box.
Sean: Oh yeah. And I've been doing that. And that's what you don't know. I say it's a .9 right now, but I might have collected somebody's email address six months ago that will show up and maybe, you never know. But what I've started doing, of course we get the web address for the...
Sean: For the property, but I've also started because... And I've kind of wanted to keep track of it at least initially keep track of where people were coming from, so I've gone out and I'll buy... Because I will put the property on Craig's List and then I've also been advertising in a print magazine, so what I've done is I've gone out and then I'll buy the property address, then I'll buy the property address like dash CR and put that in the Craig's List ad and then I'll put MBH on the other one because that's the homes magazine that I'm advertising in. Just to try and keep track of where some of these folks are coming from.
Dean: And what's your semi-scientific findings? What's your take on that?
Sean: I don't know if I've really got a semi-scientific finding. Well, for instance, let me see real quick. The lead that I took on... The listing that I took last year, that was the beach house, source 212, in what would be the flyer, generated 11 email addresses.
Dean: Okay and so let's just think about that for one second. Okay? Because you basically put up some info box flyers, which cost you whatever you know, just the cost to print them. Very, very little. Practically free to put those up. And you got 11 people who went to the instant open house site. They left their name and their email address to get more information, so when we look at it, that's somebody who was out driving around, they liked the look of that house and stopped, got out of the car, picked up and info box flyer, come back to the car and either on their phone or wait until they get back to their house, look it up and leave their name and email address to get more information. And so you look at what, just the value of that, if you had to buy that lead...
Sean: Well buyer leads were, well they would at least leave an email address or probably... I think they were probably about $40 or so dollars.
Dean: Yeah. And so you look at it right there, there's almost $500 worth of those leads. Now, Chuck Charleton and I talked about that too, that that level of lead is even higher value than somebody who is just searching online.
Sean: Yeah. There's no doubt about that.
Dean: If you had a choice of getting 100 info box leads or 100 online leads, that the info box leads would be a more serious buyer, you would imagine, right?
Sean: It would. Now this particular property may not fit that because it's two blocks from the beach and so many people walk by it, but here’s the thing too, all it takes is one or two that do at some point in the future move forward and buy something somewhere. Now the ad that I ran in the magazine, which only cost $240 a month, now I ran, this was actually a full page ad on this one. I changed it a little bit and I've got, if I've got four listings, I'll break it into quarters, you know. Now this full page ad, which I think gets a better response, but the full page ad generated, really 15, but there's one junk one in here. So just call it 14. I don't know what it was, so 14 there and I don't know if I did Craig's List for... I might have just been using the... Maybe I did the 212, just on Craig's List, but I hadn't started that yet maybe. But there's, wherever they came from, there's 25 or so leads or at least email addresses that I follow up with now with the weekly market watch.
Dean: Right, that now they're getting your market watch. Absolutely. You're building that list. What would be really... What I talk about also, is rather than advertising the specific listing, advertising in the, especially in print, on magazines, advertising for a category buyer. So what I'm saying about the... So we would run, and you've seen these on the blog, I've showed, if you're looking for an amazing lakefront home in Winter Haven, read this, with a giant, half the ad picture of the idealized thing that they're looking for. Like they look at the Cape Anne waterfront or the South Beach oceanfront or the Paradise Valley views. When you look at those raised beach homes, what would be the idealized vision of that, right?
If somebody is saying, that's what I really want, if you've got that as a perpetual thing that you're running, it doesn't depend on you having a raised beach house listing to find those buyers, you're now gathering those buyers, which is really the raw material for matching them up with, if your doing the getting listings program, on the other side of that, you're mailing postcards to all the people who own the raised beach houses and then you're running in the homes magazine this full page ad on Evergreen looking for people who are looking for raised beach houses, you know? And you could imagine that if I'm visualizing what somebody's ideal thing would be about owning a raised beach house, is what would be the view that would be the thing that would put them in that positioning? And I'm imagining, if your looking at it, you're on the east coast, so sunrise or we're sitting out on your deck looking out over the, as the sun comes up over the ocean or the kids out playing on the beach, what would be the idealized vision that somebody might say, that's the dream of owning a raised beach house, you know?
Sean: Right. Well that can be anywhere from a simple picture, but something ocean for me, possibly oceanfront, a lot of them have swimming pools, so something that had a tropical background type yard type deal. Anything along that line. I used to do that. Well I just advertise generally the full page ad, Myrtle Beach homes magazine, with the ad that you, years ago, you know, full page ad.
Dean: For the guide?
Sean: Yeah. For the guide. And I can't... I don't have what I invested in that, but the... Because I didn't run it all the time either, it would be interesting to sit down and see what would... Because it's $240 a month times 12 is you know, it's less than $3,000 a year. What would $3,000 running an ad pretty much consistently for a year do? Because when I ran it before I did get 158 mail, you know people mail that crazy little card in.
Dean: I know, yeah, when I first did that, that was a thing. I first did that maybe circa 1992, but the whole with the mail in coupon. You know, the people would mail in their... I used to get these in envelopes. It was really something. But yeah. That whole, that there's really something valuable to it. Where you end up really having the biggest win though is that every time you start getting ready to show houses to anyone looking for those, you've now got this ability to connect with the people on the listing side who raised their hand and say on a Market Maker Monday, send out the message, say hey Sean, I'm showing beach houses this week, to a couple from Philadelphia and we're looking and there's only a couple on the market right now. Saying that same kind of thing. You know, I don't know what your plans are, but I thought maybe I'd check in and see if I could tell them about your house?
Sean: Right. And that's what I don't have right now, because my leads are so broad. You know, if I had the ability, because like I said, before I was maybe dropping Google ad words through the buyer site and so on and so forth, but if I had the ability to like run that ad, and I've thought about that, it would probably... Because I don't have that, I don't have as many people calling me saying, hey I'd like to buy a raised beach house.
Dean: Right. Right.
Sean: Because I'm not looking for them. You know, even my other stuff is still...
Dean: And this is so... It's like, you don't have people calling for that because you don't always have a listing like that.
Sean: Right, but generating the leads is I mean, just generating the leads for a guide, I mean, that's the same thing I was doing before. I mean, a raised beach house commission average on one of those is gonna be $15,000.
Dean: See that's exactly right.
Sean: I'd rather have a list of 100 of those than 100 of the general.
Dean: Right. There's the thing. You're really at the point now where you've got kind of the middle of the bell curve matched up in that you're doing all of Surfside and then you've got now the opportunity to work the luxury end of this, right? Go in to the highest end and corner of the market because if you've got the buyers and you've got the people who are potentially going to be sellers and you can match those up, what a dream.
Sean: You know, that right there is probably the piece of the puzzle that... Well I know it's the piece that I'm missing, but it makes a little more sense now because, and we've talked about this before, and I even mentioned it earlier in the call, my concern has always been I'm investing this money and I know, just from my rental business, if I've been managing somebody's property for 10 years and they're gonna sell it, most likely, they're gonna pick up the phone and call me.
Dean: Sure, of course.
Sean: But the inside, like you're saying, I do know, I've got raised beach houses and other homes that are managed by other companies, that if somebody was interested in selling it and I had a ready buyer, that gets back to what you were talking about before about the mom in the living room kind of deal, I mean, that is the inside track, because not many others are doing that.
Sean: And that's probably my... Because I can expand. I mean, I could if I wanted to do just raised... Because there's an area, not in Surfside, but it's kind of the same Surfside and Garden City is the same, I mean, you know, is the same... You can get to both areas basically in a golf cart. So, I mean the Garden City point has nothing but raised beach houses on it. That's all that it is.
Dean: There you go.
Sean: I could get into those, expand that concept and then start looking for the buyers, specifically for the raised beach houses.
Dean: Yep. That's it. And the best thing is that you could start it the other way too. If you go with the print ad for $240, you could start looking for the buyers first. Right and if there's... How many of them, how many raised beach houses would there be?
Sean: Several. There are... I don't know, a couple of thousand at least.
Dean: Yeah. So you look at that. So you got a couple or 3,000 of those right there, but if your, you've got the buyers, not you can start, you know, like we didn't even talk about this right now, on this call, but when we talk about multiplying your buyers, it's turning those buyers into listings, you know? It's kind of a pool.
Sean: Yeah. Well and that's the one... Because of where I've picked my areas and that's the one... It would be interesting to look at another area because where I picked my areas is heavily second home and out of area kind of owners. On the listing multiplier, there's a point or two within those that I really don't stand a good chance of getting anyway. Like the one, somebody driving by the sign, yes. The referring to another person is tougher because they're not here, but they might have somebody that's looking to buy something or... but it's just because I'm not, they're not moving from that house to another house here in town. So there's a couple of those that would be a lot more difficult for me to get just because of the nature of where they're out, but it you could get three out of the five or two or even one or two out the five is still good.
Dean: Right on. Well, there we have... That's been, time flies. Been talking for over an hour.
Sean: Well, I hope it was valuable.
Dean: It really was. I mean this was the thing is that these conversations, I mean, you know you've been listening to the episodes, it's always to hear like really what's going on and to hear inside the thinking process behind it, you know, to see how all these elements tie together is really something.
Sean: What I find is valuable is when i got started in 2012, I mean, I had been doing some other research and a lot of folks haven't done that research and a lot of folks don't understand and know how the direct marketing kind of stuff works and you gotta be patient and you got to keep doing it and you gotta take, like you've mentioned before, you gotta take the longterm look and that you're building a business that will continually produce revenue, versus just trying to sell a house this month. If I had not done the research and whatnot before having gotten to you, I wouldn't have understood all that and I probably would've bailed real fast too. Because it doesn't make any sense. But now I'm sitting here five years down the road and you can look back and you can, well I have spent all this money but look at the stuff on the other side of the ledger also.
Dean: Yes. Exactly.
Sean: And I would've never stuck it out because you do have to be patient and you've gotta have a long range perspective on the deal.
Dean: It's only building. It gets better every week.
Sean: Every single month and the more money you get, if you keep on investing, at some point you may just decide that you want to quit, not quit investing, but kind of taper it at that level and you're okay with it. Continue on about your business. Well, good deal. I appreciate the time and the input and I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks.
Dean: In February.
Sean: Yep. About a month. All right buddy.
Dean: Okay. Bye-bye.
Dean: And there we have it. Another great episode. It's exciting to see the results happening, especially in Sean's after unit, you know we talk about nurturing lifetime relationships with the people who already know you, like you and trust you and doing something as simple as the world's most interesting postcard where it's completely designed to increase the chances of somebody thinking about you when they hear somebody talking about real estate, and introducing you to that person. It's one of the very highest yield for set it and forget it types of programs that we offer at Gogoagent.com and especially when you match it with our Easy Button program of having somebody do it for you, where literally all you have to do is provide just the list of who the people are and then you can set it and forget it that it will happen every month, somebody will be getting a postcard from you and of course, that's a great foundation for all the other things that you're doing to build a relationship, whether you're sending a newsletter, whether you're doing client events, whether you're going and seeing people, whatever it is that you're doing to nurture those relationships, adding the world's most interesting postcard will be a big piece of it.
So I would encourage you to come and join us, check us out at gogoagent.com, we've got a whole community of people who are applying all of these listing agent lifestyle principles and I've got a whole team of people standing by to help you implement all of the programs that we have for getting listings, for finding buyers, for getting referrals for multiplying your listings, for converting leads, we've got programs for all of it and you can get a truly free trial at gogoagent.com. You can come on it, try us out for 30 days, no credit card required. We're here to help you and I think we can. That's it for this week. I will talk to you next time.