It’s easy to underestimate long-term results, and how your experience of a program improves your returns as you become better able to automate or systematize steps along the way.
Today on the Listing Agent Lifestyle Podcast we're talking with Penny Alper from New York state.
Penny has been in our world since the very beginning. I mean, I've known her as long as we've been working with real estate agents, all the way back to meeting her at a Main Event with Joe Stump, back in early 90’s!
She's an enthusiastic executor and one of the things she's really been focused on is implementing the Getting Listings program. She's gone through a lot of starts and stops over the years and has now got to a consistent level with everything happening on auto pilot, without her having to think about it.
We had a great conversation about longevity, systemizing and investing in the Listing Agent Lifestyle mindsets.
I love talking with Penny and I think you're going to get a lot out of the conversation.
Transcript: Listing Agent Lifestyle Ep030
Dean: Penny Alper.
Penny: Good morning.
Dean: Well, good morning. This is very exciting.
Penny: Well, yes. It's exciting. It's like a holy shit moment, but it's exciting.
Dean: This call is being recorded, so. I love the mixture of having a lot of people that I've never met and really talking and going through a whole "Listing Agent Lifestyle" plan, but it's always fun when it's someone that I know. We've been together for, I think we were trying to figure out how many years. But certainly 14 or more, anyway. Which is kind of cool.
Penny: I can peg us back actually, I'm thinking to '91.
Dean: That far. No, it can't be '91.
Dean: Are you saying, no, 2001 is what you meant, right?
Penny: Oh, no.
Dean: Maybe even earlier than that. At a made event in Virginia Beach, was that the first? So that would have been in '96. Wow, that is a long time.
Penny: Yeah, yeah. No, it was even before that. It was Toronto, and you and Joe came walking out of an elevator, and that was my first interaction with you, and it was '91, '92, because I had just gone to Remax at that point.
Dean: Wow, wow, wow. Well, here we are. All these years later.
Penny: I know, I know.
Dean: You know what, I'm excited to kind of hear what you talked a little bit about the Penny Alper story, and then we use that as a jumping off point to see what we can hatch going forward here for you.
Penny: Okey dokey.
Dean: So where did it all begin for Penny? I'm interested to see the whole progression and the things that you've adapted that you're applying now to all the "Listing Agent Lifestyle" elements, and where you see the big opportunity for you.
Penny: I think it goes back to when you wake up from your slumber, and I remember being on that mastery cruise when you had that little break out with the eyeballs, and the hearts and the whole thing.
Dean: When we did the whole, that was the formula for internet marketing. Eyeball, plus emails, plus hearts, equals faces. That was the big breakthrough circa 1997 or 8. When the internet was first starting to be a thing.
Penny: Right, and I remember that, and I remember thinking like, "Wow, that's really cool," and of course I did not jump on board immediately. I had to do it my own way, a la Zach, and I had somebody dealing with the website, whatever. And one day, I just said okay, I surrender, and I called up Sunny, and she's like, "Oh, how did you find out about us," and I'm like, "No, no, no. You don't understand. I've known about you, I've just surrendered."
And so that was when I really came in full-fledged, and said it's going to be as much as I cannot resist. Let's put it that way, and so many things that you've said through the years just really resonated with me. One of the huge things, and I tell you this all the time, is that imagine if your phone only accepts incoming calls.
Dean: Yes. I love that.
Penny: Yeah. And that for me was like, "Okay, he's talking my language, and whatever I have to do to make my phone have those incoming calls, I'm 100% in with it." Because that just made so much sense to me, and going back with the whole- was it Beckwith "people pursued run away"?
Dean: Yes, that's exactly right. Wow, look at you. That's really where that whole idea of the mice, that was his whole thing. Is imagining your prospects as much that you're trying not to frighten.
It's the same way with our prospects, and that really was one of the things that led to this whole mentality that I've developed of that. Of more cheese, less whiskers. Because when you couple that idea, that if that's true, that our prospects are like mice, that they're afraid, and coupled with the idea of why we use mice in all the scientific testing and things that go on. Is because their brains are very similar motivationally, and reactively to human brains. We react to stimuli the same, motivation the same. Patterns the same, those kinds of thing.
So that was really where I got this thinking that a mouse, the two prime directives of mouse is get cheese, and avoid cats. So you think about that whole thing, it's like that's guided everything that I've done, because it's all really as long as you can keep somebody moving towards the cheese, which is what they really want, and not trying to impose your will on them, or showing your whiskers, your self-interest on them, that they're going to keep gladly moving in the forward direction. Because ultimately as people we all want the cheese. We all want to good stuff.
I've applied that to every business, but in real estate specifically, people who are going to sell their house, if they're going to sell their house, they want to move forward on that. And they're going to do it for their own reasons, on their own time. We're not going to call and convince anybody to sell their house, and that's why when you take away this idea of only accepting incoming calls, is really this idea of only letting them drive when things are going to happen. That it's completely up to them. And that's just been such a great approach, and it's proved out over time that it's the winning move. Because you don't alienate people. When you're trying to call and convince people to do something, you're not a welcome call in the home.
That's cool. I want to continue with what you were saying, I just wanted to amplify that thought a little bit. But when you got that idea, what happened then?
Penny: Well, I said okay, "What do I have to do to make that happen? What do I have to do to get those incoming calls?" Because it's a wonderful idea, and you can just float around in the ozone, going, "Oh look, my phone's going to ring," but if you're not doing what you need to do to make it happen then your phone's not going to ring.
Dean: That's exactly right.
Penny: Then it was a matter of saying, "Okay fine. What is this?" And that was back in the day where you had your a la carte before GoGo. So you had to buy "Getting Listings", and then you bought binding buyers, you had those individual systems. And it was a lot more work, because we did not have the tools that we have today.
I just remember I didn't have an assistant, and I said, "I'm doing this. Come hell or high water, I'm starting this 'Getting Listings' things. Whatever this is going to be, I'm running with it." And my dining room table, I mean I have a big dining room table, and it was just end to end with stuff. Because the way I did it was I sent out the post cards, I actually printed the post cards on my humongo three color printer. That was before Prospects Plus, that was before an easy way to get things mailed. So I was going through that whole printing process, the printer wouldn't print post card size, so you had to print it on an 8.5 by 11-
Dean: And cut it up.
Penny: And cut it up, and stick on labels, and get everything to the post office. And it was just hugely labor intensive, and just really obnoxious. But again, what I remember you saying back then, is we have different currencies, and you have time, and you have money. A lot more time then, then I had money.
So I was doing it that way, and once I started getting the responses, I said, well I want to deliver this as a "wow", I just don't want to send out an envelope. So every one of my first responders get everything in a three ring binder. And I've been doing that for all these years, however many years.
Dean: 12 years, yeah.
Penny: Yeah, I mean it's quite a few years. So I found a place to get the three ring binders pretty inexpensively. I buy them at Bjs, they have them in a six pack. So I'm spending maybe $1.50 for a binder, instead of four bucks you'd buy somewhere else. And I send it out in one of the post offices priority mail.
Dean: Priority boxes, uh-huh.
Penny: Yep, and I have a splash label on the front.
Dean: "Pimp my envelope," that's what we ended up calling that.
Penny: Right, right. We were into the pimping for sure. It was a "wow" when it got delivered to the doorstep, it was a "wow." That's what I was looking for, was something that was going to stand out that was not going to just be an envelope. The information folded in half. In a booklet envelope I wanted something that was going to start that relationship with that whole reciprocity thing in mind with the giving hands.
So I'm giving them this package which I know is a "wow," which when was all said and done cost me like maybe three bucks to get the whole package. Well, postage has gone up, so it's probably more like five bucks. Still, it's so worth it, and again the other thing. I have like a whole litany of your words in my mind-
Dean: I love it.
Penny: ... the whole thing where you said, you're making an investment. And that was again, something that resonated. And it was like, okay, this is an investment. I'm all about set it and forget it, and that became something that was set it and forget it.
Dean: I'm going to amplify that thought a little bit first. These are great, I love everything you're saying. But I want to amplify a couple of the things, because this idea, what you were talking about, is making an investment, I just want to add to that, the mindset that I want people to bring to this is that they're making a capital investment in their business as opposed to an expense, where the idea is that capital is something outside of the normal P and L of your business kind of thing.
The operating expenses, that we're making a capital investment that we're expecting a return on over time on that. So when I look at it, the latest idea that I share with people, is if you could imagine that each mailing of "Getting Listings" post cards is like buying a certificate of deposit, a C.D. that is redeemable or matures in one year.
So if you're mailing in June, that you're taking that $500, or $1000, or $1500, or whatever it is, and looking at the return on that investment one year from now. And that's where it really gets really interesting, is because you've got such an amazing long term situation there. But a lot of times people try, when you are looking at it as an expense, or a shorter term thinking, that's where people try, I call it "day trading". Where they're trying to shortcut the process, "well what if I only mail to people who've been in the home for this much, and have this much equity?" Or people who are this particular parameter, where instead of mailing to the same area ever month for 12 months, what if I just mailed to the first month, and go to 12 different areas?
It's interesting how people's minds work to try and shortcut the process, but that capital investment is really the thing that is the wining move.
Penny: Right, and then they say things like, "Well, I'm just going to call them and make sure they got the post card." It's like, "No, you're not calling them and asking them if they got the post card. If they didn't it'll come back, and you'll know when you get the post card."
I think so much of that just comes back to mindset, and that's probably the biggest thing that I see, is that the people who really embrace what this is all about get it. They get the mindset, they get the capital investment, they get that it doesn't matter if I get bored, because I'm not a party to what's going on.
Dean: Right, exactly.
Penny: And the system works, and if I set it and forget it, then all of a sudden, things are going to start to happen. I mean, when I first started doing this, the cash flow was difficult. So I would do it, and I would do it for four months, and then I'd be like, "Oh, I can't afford it this month, and I can't afford it next month," and next thing I know it's six months later and I'm starting up again.
I did that a couple of times and then I had the old, "What the hell are you thinking" talk with myself, and it was interesting, because I smoked at the time, and I said, "Hmm. You always have money for cigarettes, yet you're saying you don't have money to send out these post cards." So how many cartons of cigarettes? And not that I was going to stop smoking, that wasn't the conversation going on in my head, it was just that reality check. That the money is where you put it, and again, it's coming back to that capital investment. So that when I started it up, I never stopped.
And then what I began to do is add neighborhoods. So okay, this one is fine, this one's been running now for how many years, and they were going to add another one, and all those little oil wells you talk about. You just start throwing stuff at it, and lo and behold, last week I got a call, I was driving in my car, this lady calls up and she goes, "I want to sell my house," and I'm like, "Oh, okay. I can do that." And she goes, "I get those post cards from you every month, and I've gotten them for years, and years, and years." And I'm like, "Okay. What's your address?" So at least I could pinpoint the neighborhood. And she told me, and she said, "I retired, and I'm ready to go."
And we had an appointment, I think she's a little older, I don't know, but we had an appointment for this past Saturday, and I went there, and I knocked on the door, and this voice came out of a window. And she said, "I can't come to the door, who's there?" I told her, and she goes, "Well, I'm on the toilet,"
Dean: Oh boy.
Penny: I can't believe I'm standing in front of this house, having this conversation with this woman on a toilet, and it was not the woman. It was somebody who lived in the house, and she said to me, "Why don't you come back later?" And I said, "Well, can you call her?" And she goes, "I called her, I didn't get her," you know, blah blah blah. This has got to be a first. So we have an appointment for this Saturday, and I'm going to go and list the house. But she's never been on my list.
Dean: Right, but she's gotten the post card. Part of this is that thing showing up every month like that becomes this anchor that whenever it's time that they want to know what the prices are in their neighborhood, or for their house which is always the precursor to things, that's it's there. That's anchored in their mind. That, "Oh, I'll just wait a second, and this report will come so I can call for this to get the information." That's a powerful thing.
I talked with Tony Kalsi two days ago because I'm heading up to Toronto this weekend, and we were showing how we've got that four year infographic for that case study that we've been running in Toronto there, and he's just saying now like he's got all the updated numbers for me as we come into September of this year, will be the five year case study. But what we're both noticing is the exponential curve that this tikes to take, the steepness of the increase in more and more money that's coming, because you've got not only the people that are short term now calling up, but the people who responded almost five years ago now. Some of them calling that they're ready. So he's saying it's been keeping him on his toes.
Penny: Well, it's truly kind of funny, because we obviously have people that have been in the system for quite a long time, and periodically I don't know if they've gotten ahold of a post card, or I don't know how it happens, but somebody will come in and re-raise their hand, and I'm not quite sure how they do that, but they'll re-raise their hand, and my assistant will say to me, "they just want another binder," and I'm like, "I don't care, send them the damn binder,"
Dean: Yeah, right, exactly. We got plenty of binders, don't worry about that.
Penny: Yeah, yeah. But you know, she's so funny, she's like, "They've already gotten stuff from us," and I'm like, "It's cool, they can raise their hand as many times as they want, and I'll give them whatever they want, it doesn't matter." So I think that when you get to that mindset of give them what they want, whatever, I don't care. It's a binder. It's a new little booklet that goes in there, it's a new whatever.
They want it, they got it, and it's just really, really interesting to see as our market is also changing a little bit because I'm in New York, and we are always, I say five years behind the rest of the country. The country has been rallying around market, market, market, shortness of inventory, everything is awful, and prices are going up. All this stuff. We've just not been there, and we have had the shortness of inventory because I think that's a national thing that's going on, but we still have a tremendous amount of foreclosures.
I'm still doing short sale, which has been for 10 years the back bone of my business, and it's interesting because now I'm transitioning a little bit where they're falling off some, but my heads trying to shift with it, and it's all kind of crazy stuff. But it's really, really interesting looking at the market shift, because it's only within the past probably six months that I've seen in these neighborhoods where it would be one or two would come on the market. Now all of a sudden there's, particularly in the higher end market that I've been mailing to, we would have a house every three months, four months that would come on the market, and they would be underwater. They had bought real high and it wasn't there yet.
Now all of a sudden in the past six months I'm seeing them and they broke a price barrier. These people have bought in the high fours, up to the mid fives, some of them even bought into the sixes, and everything we were selling was in the threes. And there were people that were able to get out because they weren't upside down or they could throw money at it or whatever, but there were a lot of people that were stuck there because nothing was even in the fours.
Well what happened in the first probably five months of this year is all of a sudden one person broke the four barriers, and now-
Dean: Now it looks like he's free, in a way.
Penny: Yes, yes, a gate opened up, and what was really interesting is I was caught in that whole dynamic there. Because I had gotten five people from this neighborhood, and it's not that big a neighborhood, it's only maybe 360 homes in the neighborhood. I had five people that reached out to me, and what is crazy is I lost three of them. One of them, I had been with this guy for two years, or three years. I had gone and done a room by room review with him, I had done everything, and he was getting ready, getting ready, getting ready, and for whatever reason, he said, "I want to go with somebody with a big company." Okay, fine. That was his excuse.
And then a guy two doors down from him, I had given him a price and somebody came in and gave him a higher price, and I'm like, "Uh-oh, somethings going on." And then the third one I went in and I gave them what I thought was pushing the envelope, and they told me what they wanted, and we had a $60,000 gap. And then an agent came in because they knew him through the church, and listed it probably $30,000 higher. At the mid-point, $30,000 more that I would have, and I'm like, okay. I got caught with my feet on the ground, and I recognize it, and I'm like, "Okey dokey, this isn't happening again."
There are two, one of them we're going to list, that one actually is a short sale, and the other one when they come on, they're absolutely coming on with me because they want my number.
Dean: You've been doing "Getting Listings" now for 12 years, I would love to hear the fastest and the longest listings that you've gotten from doing this. Do you recall that somebody, I think at one of the GoGoAgent academies you shared with me about, and I don't know whether that was a buyer, or a seller who had called you after six years or something?
Penny: Yeah, the short sale that's coming up now I think was one of the first people that responded to get information. So he's in it probably maybe 10, 11 years.
Dean: Wow, amazing.
Penny: And I what's interesting is when you get in there and you hear their story, you now find out what's really been going on behind the scenes for those years. She had been monitoring the market because she had some major health issues, and was unable to pay her mortgage for a couple years, and then wound up doing a modification, and what they did was they increased their mortgage by like $150,000, and started them at square one 30 years. So as she's watching and getting all the update, she's kind of realizing that there's no way that the market is going to catch up to the situation that she's in, and that's when she finally said, "It's time to pull the trigger, because I'm never going to be able to get out of here. I'm going to be-" she's like 59 years old, "... I'm going to be 27 more years in this house trying to pay off this mortgage, crazy."
So that was her story, but that was why it took her so long. She was watching and waiting and hoping, and then she woke up, and she said, "It's not going to happen." I think she may be one of the longest ones. The shortest ones are the ones that don't even ask for a package.
Dean: They just call you from the post card, and say, "Yeah, we want to sell," just like that one you described.
Penny: Right. So it really runs a gamut there, everything in the middle.
Dean: We have the best possible thing that happens. A few years ago when we started doing the documenting of doing everything for Julie Mathews right from our office that's where Lillian first came in to the picture, that we mailed to the lakefront homes. There were 2000, 2100 lakefront homes, and we started mailing the doing the "Getting Listings" program with those. Literally the first mailing we got a guy responded on Lake Lulu, and then the first indication that anything had even happened was Julie played a voice mail message that she got from a guy on Lake Lulu. He left a message for her, he said, "This is," whatever his name was, "I live on Lake Lulu, I got your post card, and then we got your package. And it looks like you're serious about selling some lakefront homes. We want you to come over and list our house."
That was literally the voicemail message that she got, and she hadn't even seen the post cards yet, because we were doing it all for her from our office. Because we had selected everything, we mailed out the post cards, we mailed the initial package to him along with the "Sell Your House For Top Dollar Fast" book, and the whole thing happened without her even knowing it, and then he calls and leaves that voicemail for her and she was pretty excited about that.
But that was a really great additional kick, and then I look at, on the other side, Tony Kalsi mailed for five months before he got his first transaction. But then when you look at the infographic, if we draw a line up from that February back to September, he went on. And so far when we did the four year numbers have done 13 or 14, 14 I think transactions from people who responded in that first five months. So even though they didn't list their house right away, they were there, and that's a really great indication.
Because some of them it was three and a half years later and they ended up listing their house, but you talk about that long term ROI on making that buy and hold investment and identifying that group of people. This is the thing, is that the capital investment part is not in the post cards. The post cards aren't the capital investment, the capital investment is the responses that you get. It's the capital that it's up to you to get those 10 people, or 12 people, or five people, or however many responses you get to the postcard. That's the capital investment that you've identified 10 people who have a much higher likelihood to sell their house. That's really where we have the advantage.
Penny: It's real exciting. I remember when I was first starting doing it, and I could chart the mailman's path through the neighborhood-
Dean: Right, as people are responding.
Penny: Yes, as the emails were coming in. And it was like, oh, okay, he started in this area, and he wound up over here. And it was just really, really funny, and it was really exciting to see these emails popping up. And now, of course, these neighborhoods are probably fairly saturated, but it doesn't matter. They still plant, the flowers still pop up, but if you want that rush of following the mailman around the neighborhood, I think I need to start another neighborhood.
Dean: That's great, yeah, right.
Penny: It's in the first probably three mailings that you see all those people. I think that's what gets people, it's get the adrenaline flowing when you get those initial responses. And then it's like next month I only got one person raising their hand, or I only got three people raising their hand. And it doesn't matter. It's just how it-
Dean: That Penny, that's exactly what happens. I draw for people a "What happens." I draw like a graph with an x and y axis, and write the month one to 12 down on the bottom axis, and then on each one the number of responses that you get, and if you look at it that month one you're going to get the highest response.
In month two you're going to get some less response than you got in month one, because you've had that pent up demand. They've never seen that offer. They respond, so now fewer people do it. Month three you probably get even less than you got in month two, but at that point it stabilizes and you end up getting plus or minus whatever you get in month three over just in perpetuity now. Every time you mail, you get some number of responses, but what people see is that the cumulative expense of it, in their minds of using that expense language that they're cumulative spend on the post cards is it's $1000 in month one, it's $2000 in month two, it's $3000 in month three that they've invested that amount in it.
They see the responses going down, and they haven't had any listings yet, and often that's the point where people panic and bail, but they don't realize that all of these people that have responded ... you look at just the first five months of Tony's chart. Even if Tony had quit mailing at month five just before he got his first listing there. All of those people had already responded, if he just kept in touch with them there were 14 additional transactions that come from that investment of identifying them early on. There's so much on that.
Have you ever looked at, because I know it's been a long time now, the ROI for the numbers for how you've done over the 12 years?
Penny: No. And I'm so bad with that kind of stuff. I know it works, and I know that I can count on every month or two somebody's going to raise their hand and say I want to sell my house. I could go back, but the problem there is GoGo's only been around for how many years? Three years, four years?
Dean: Yes, exactly.
Penny: So that's probably where my data would go without digging a little deeper, because I brought in a whole database from Top Producer, and there wasn't a flag that carried over from Top Producer the way I had done in Top Producer. So I would have to go probably into the remarks of every ... you know what I mean?
Dean: Yeah, I got it, and you're right. There's the thing is that you've been doing it for so long and you know that it's been a multiple multiple of everything that you've done which is great. And you're not unlike most people. Most people it's not natural to track your numbers in that way. Just look at it, and you're saying, "Yeah, this is work." I mean, I certainly get a multiple of what I put in, and I know it works because I've got that long track record of it.
So what we've really been refining our approach to the numbers element of this in the last several years, but that's good to know.
Penny: I could go back to the beginning of GoGo, because it's all blast in there, and the beautiful thing is when I hired my assistant life five, six years out, I don't even know how long she's with me, that was the first thing that I put on their plate was the whole "Getting Listings" things. It was like, "Go away, I've done it, I can teach you, I know it," and then I put it on her plate. So when that happened, it became so easy for me to say, "Oh, let's add another neighborhood. Oh, let's add another neighborhood."
Dean: Right, exactly, it's easy. You just point. That's my favorite thing, is just point. Oh this area, what about this area? It's so great.
Penny: So that was the real supreme part of it, and of course you have the easy button, so it makes it super easy for people, but I have her, and that's one of her big monthly tasks, and that's fine. I don't pay her a whole lot of money, I probably pay her more than I should, but you know it doesn't matter. It works for me, she takes care of that. So that's, again, part of that "set it and forget it" that is so important. Because it just goes so far back to Joe Sunth when we talked about being able to desemitize things, and I think that's the biggest key.
Is that when it becomes a system in your business, you're much less inclined to walk away from it, or deviate from it, or abandon it, because it's just one of your pillars. And you look at a stool, and a stool will never stand on one leg. And you need at least three legs for a stool to stand. So you got to have those different pillars in your business for your business to stand. The way I look at it is, "Getting Listings" is one of your pillars, and when you got back the "Listing Agent Lifestyle", everything that your listing out there is really just one of your pillars of a very sturdy stool.
Dean: That's exactly right, yeah.
Penny: I think when people begin to realize that, and they say, "okay, my stools a little wobbly. I have two pillars up, I need to add that third pillar just to stabilize my stool." And then the get to the point that they can dance on that stool because it has all eight things going on that now they're really approaching living that "Listing Agent Lifestyle".
Dean: That's awesome, yeah. What's your next strongest element, if we were to say? You've got "Getting Listings" dialed in, and it's proven for the long term, and you know it's a system that you don't really have anything to do with other than when people call you up and say, "Can you come and list my house?" You've got your system, and your assistant, and the easy button in place to make all those happen. Which of the elements is the next dialed in thing that you kind of focus on?
Penny: Well you know it's kind of funny, because I thought I was all dialed in. When were at the academy, we were talking about the buyer aspect of it. I had a sweet system going on. I had Zillow rocking and rolling, and I had Riley that was my assistant to handle every incoming lead.
That worked great, and I've been doing Riley since I was one of the early adopters on Riley, so whenever they created Riley I jumped in on it. Then like two months ago, a month ago, Riley is now going through a, I don't know what you want to call it, I think it's a reinvention probably? So they've been shut down for two months pretty much. These leads that come in, it's like, "What? Somebody's giving me a lead, what do I do?" Because I had Riley bundling these leads, answering these leads, and then somebody boom- pop up. And it was very much like "Getting Listings", where it was like an incoming phone call. Somebody would take this step, and the whole system would work, and they would take that step, and they would reach out to me, and they were like, "Oh, let me look at this house," whatever.
So I had both ends of it on autopilot, and now Riley supposedly is going to come back, they say bigger and better, with everything working, but it's like I was going 90 miles an hour and then the system broke. And the breaks went on. So I'm sitting here going, "Where's all my buyers?" And because I'm not prepared with my five things to be the monkey with the probe that reacts to the thing. I don't roll that way. So I don't want to retrain myself, I want to find the system that will ... and hopefully Riley will come back into place and then my whole buyer thing will be rolling and I'll get back to the callers with that. Because those two were in place beautifully. And on to the whole market maker, trying to play with that.
Dean: Yeah, when you've got both ends. When you've got buyers that are for a specific category you get the opportunity now to be a market maker with all the people that you know are going to be selling their house. This is the really interesting thing Penny, is that the more I think about it, what really has been our advantage over all these years is really getting to being on the leading edge of where the information leads off, or drops off, for consumers.
I've ridden that wave all the way from the last 30 years of where in 1988 there was no access for consumers to any kind of information. So when I started offering people the guide to Holton Hills real estate prices, that was the only access they would have to what was going on. And sending them by mail a physical market watch newsletter with all the updates straight from the MLS catalog every two weeks, it was like cutting edge. It was the leading thing, and as the internet came on, we started now the leading message was "search all the home online." That we were way ahead of even Realtor.com, there was no Zillow, there was no aggregator of all of the data, and that was a winning message for a lot of years, because people were not even used to searching homes online.
Now the information is at the advantage, where the advantage comes is being able to identify people who are not visible to the public. That when you're doing "Getting Listings" for lakefront homes or townhouses, or condos, or whatever it is, when you've invested and have identified all of these people who are going to at some point sell their lakefront home, or their condo, or their golf course home. And on the other side of that you're identifying people who are looking to buy those homes. To buy lakefront or any category, that's really the advantage here. That, that really is your competitive advantage now, that's where we have the information advantage.
When you were talking about those two people who one chose to go with the bigger company, one chose to go with somebody who offered them a higher price/ those two things happened because consumers. People who are going to be selling their house, what they really want is to get the most money for their house, and they want to go with the path that they think is going to get them to that finish line the fastest.
There is no way if you were able to go in to either of those situations and say, "I'd like to buy your house, how much do you want for it? This is what the market is, this is what's reasonable. When would you like to move?" That there's no way that they would have listed with anybody else. And it's that same thing if you can come to people with a buyer who you've already identified them. They've been looking for the last six months waiting for just the right lakefront house to come on, and you're able to market make. You're able to come to that seller with a buyer.
That just puts you so far ahead of anybody with a plan. Somebody with a buyer in hand is so much further ahead that somebody with a plan to start exposing your house to find this pool of buyers. You go in and you start. "I already started looking for the buyer for your house 180 days ago."
Penny: Right, and I did have that dialogue, and it was very interesting. The one that bailed for price, we had the whole thing of the silent market, and this whole blah, blah, blah, and it was like, "Oh, that's really good," but it was just kind of interesting to me when he called and said, "We decided to go in a different direction," I love those ones.
Dean: Yeah, I know.
Penny: Yeah. We all know what that means. But yeah, I believe that there are always lessons in life, and sometimes when I look at those three what was my loss of revenue on those three that I just was not on the top of my game? It was a $50,000 loss.
Dean: I often take that approach to things, looking at is as counting that as a loss. That it's a motivator.
Penny: Oh, it is.
Dean: When I have people calculate their listing multiplier index, we go back, and if their listing multiplier index is one, that means that every listing they take generates one transaction, and I know that we can get that to three. Then if I have to do the math on what they're losing by not focusing on those listing multiplier opportunities, it could be hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next ten listings.
Penny: I remember the first academy that you introduced that to us, and Michelle sat there and her jaw dropped, and she said, "I left $450,000 on the table."
Dean: Yes, exactly.
Penny: And that was a huge, huge ... I mean, I don't think any of us had numbers quite so large because I don't think our market numbers are quite so large.
Dean: Right, yeah, exactly.
Penny: I'll never forget that was her reaction, is almost a half a million dollars because I didn't know this.
Dean: And you look at it now, and it's our clubhouse leaders are in the threes, at 3.5, as a listing multiplier index, and that's a dramatic difference. Imagine instead of $10,000, that each listing is worth $35,000. That's a big swing, just from focusing on the right things.
Penny: And what they say is what you focus on expands.
Dean: That's exactly right. I'm still waiting for somebody to break that four minute mile. The four listing multiplier index. That's a possibility that I'm excited to be there as that happens. We see that three. Three plus is definitely attainable, just with a little focus. We've got the instant open house, we've got all of the tools to make that happen.
Penny: Yep. My moneys on Ron or Cindy.
Dean: I think you're fight, that's right. And Tony for sure.
Penny: Tony, okay.
Penny: But yeah, it's just unlimited. And that's the thing that I find so exciting, is that you can never be complacent, you can never say I've done all that is to be done. There's always something new and fun and exciting that is just waiting to be engaged.
Dean: Yes. What's your big focus going forward here now? What is the thing where you see the big opportunity for you?
Penny: I really think the listing agent multiplier. The listing multiplier.
Dean: The listing multiplier index, right.
Penny: Yeah. I think that's huge, and I think when that's really consciousness. It's just so hard in markets where your inventory is so low that you can't put that house on the market until you've gotten close times. That's our first reaction is, "Oh, I got this listing. Let me put it out there, let me get it sold," and everything in that whole striving to bring that index up just changes your mindset a little bit.
It's not about getting it sold, it's about how many points do I get, and it becomes a game.
Dean: That's exactly it. I've often said that people often wear their speed to sell their listings, that it sells so quickly, that their markets so hot and their marketing is so strong, they price it right, and get it in the MLS, and they'll sell for 99% of asking price in seven or 10 days, or whatever. It's like the saddest thing that I hear people say is, "I don't have to do just listings. I don't have to do those things," but it's like that's just the sound of losing money. Because they're looking at doing those extra things as an expense rather than-
Penny: Right, that's work.
Dean: ... claiming the extra bonus money that's sitting there. That they're the only ones. We definitely need every advantage that we have in terms of where all the information is available to everybody. So attaching yourself to having the listing centric approach to the business, where once you get a listing it's competition proof, right? You're the only one that has that opportunity to use that listing to find the buyer for it. Or, to find people that are going to buy another one. Or you suddenly become the incumbent neighborhood specialist, when you're the most recent listing agent that's had a sale in that area. So you get so many good things.
Penny: It's kind of funny, because I was driving somewhere the other day, and I saw a "pending" sign on the "For Sale" sign, and I thought to myself, "Who is that pending sign for?" Because that's like a really dumb thing to do. But it's for the agent to say, "Look at me, I sold this house." And when we take our ego out of what we do, then it changes so much, and I wanted to call that agent and say, "Get that pending sign off of there. You're losing all these potential buyers," you know.
Dean: Right. That's the truth, right? Because what you're saying to the buyer is, "Don't call me and bug me, because this one's gone, basically. Call me to ask about this one."
Penny: Exactly, exactly. And it's so much of that mindset that just needs to be reset, I think. And I think through all your different things that you offer, and all the really cool things that you've thought up and spent years researching and putting together, so much of it is really mindset based and getting out of our own way. I think we tend to overthink things, I think we tend to over expect, over analyze, and when we can get out of our own way and just follow the rules, and I'm really not good at the rules. But when you do get to that point of surrender and realize that greater minds than mine have developed this, and proven it, and found that it works, then I think that probably that surrender is the best thing that anybody can do.
Dean: That's awesome. And part of the thing is that when you're part of a community, that you're seeing, you're touching, and you're feeling and talking to people like when we did the academy, that you're seeing, you're in the room right there with somebody who's got a 3.5. Multiple people that have a 3.5 listing multiplier index, and multiple people that are getting a huge ROI on getting listings. There's so much evidence around it, it gives you that feeling of confidence to really then shift your mindset.
Penny: And what I love about the community is that everybody has different strengths. Then everybody can learn and grow from somebody else who has a different strength than you.
Dean: That's it exactly.
Penny: The academy is just amazing. It's just so cool being with everybody who's on the same page and has the same intentions as you. Anybody who does not take advantage of everything that's there is just really leaving so much on the table.
Dean: That's awesome. Well. You said it all, Penny. I mean, this has been great. I feel like we just had tea, got caught up with an old friend.
Penny: I know, I know.
Dean: It's been great.
Penny: It's awesome.
Dean: Thank you so much for sharing. I think this is the whole thing here, right, is just having these conversations, really making it real for people that there's real people in many different parts of the country that are doing it for many different periods of time. Having people who are just getting started, people like you who've been around and seen the whole evolution of it from the beginning, and it's always great. I love that we get to share this kind of experience with people.
Penny: And the really cool thing is you can hear how I screwed up and lost $50,000.
Dean: Exactly, exactly. I love it.
Penny: You know? None of us are immune, and none of us have all the answers, and we're all just learning, which I just love.
Dean: That's awesome. Well, I love you Penny. I appreciate everything that you ... I'm so thankful for our relationship for all these years. You're just so enthusiastic and willing to share, and giving, and I love that.
Penny: And thank you. Thank you for your mind.
Dean: Thanks, Penny. We'll talk to you soon.
Penny: Take care.
Dean: And there we have it. What a great conversation. I really enjoyed that. I've known Penny all these years, and it's always nice to talk to her, and it's been great to watch her evolution over that whole period of time.
I think that there's a couple of examples or illustrations that really jump out that is that we talk about all the elements of the "Listing Agent Lifestyle", and really going deep into one or two of them initially to get yourself a really strong foundation is a great launch pad to do all of it. Now I know there are so many things when you start thinking about what am I going to focus on? We talk about the five business elements of the listing agent lifestyle, of getting listings. If you're going to have a listing centric business, you got to establish a way of consistently getting listings. And that's really what Penny's been focused on primarily.
Then number two is multiplying listings. If you're already multiplying listings, that's a great place to start, is let's maximize what you're doing there so that every new listing that you do get is going to yield a multiple of the commission that you would get from just putting it in the MLS and hoping that it sells. So focusing on calculating your listing multiplier index, knowing what that is, and knowing that the goal is improving it and seeing what a different that can really make.
Then getting referrals, we didn't even talk about that with Penny, but that's been one of the great long term focus for her is building the relationship with the people who already know her, like her, and trust her. So if you've got already your top 100, or you're top 150 people put together, let's build a plan to focus and get that on autopilot.
Then converting leads. If you've got a bunch of leads that you've already been generating and nurturing, you could literally be sitting on a gold mine, and we can share some really simple email strategies. Some lead conversion strategies that can help you turn more of those leads into clients.
Then finding buyers. But finding buyers with a purpose. When we take a listing centric approach to the business, even finding buyers becomes an asset to help us get more listings, and so that's why we focus so much of our attention on leading with getting listings, and building this silent, secret inventory of people who are going to sell their house over the next, 12, 24, 36 months, along with developing this inventory of buyers who are going to buy a home in the next 6 months, 12 months, 24 months. And so working all of those things together is really what sets us up for the lifestyle elements of the "Listing Agent Lifestyle", which are abundant time, and daily joy, and financial peace.
And so having systems that create all of this income stability for you, allow you to really focus on doing the things that you really like in the business, so that you have daily joy, and feeling like you have an abundance of time and financial peace. I just love the focus on being able to help people rally establish a plan for all of those things.
So if you want to keep this conversation going, come on over and see what we're up to at GoGoAgent.com. When you come in, you can come in free trial, no credit card required, see what we're up to. When we reach out to connect with you, let's find out what the best thing for you is. Because a lot of times it can be overwhelming, we've got so much stuff to help you with all of those things, that it can be overwhelming. So when you come in, when we reach out to connect with you, welcome you, when you set up your free trial, let's find out what's the one thing that we can help you with right now that would make the biggest difference in your business.
If you've got listings right now, let's deploy some of the listing multipliers, and see if we can help you multiple the listing stat you already have right now, before we start looking at getting more. If you don't have listings, and you want to get more listings let's focus on setting up the "Getting Listings" program so that you can identify the people who are going to sell in the areas that you want to work in, over the next 12 months, 24 months, long term. Taking that approach there.
If you've got leads that you've already generated, let's focus on some simple email strategies to convert more of those leads into right now business into buyers and sellers who are going to sell their house right now. If we focus on those three things that narrows the field for us, helps us get the fastest result, and the fastest impact that we can have, even in the 30 days of your free trial. I want you to see and experience everything, and get a result so that we're building on a foundation that gets you excited about a long term relationship with us. So GoGoAgent.com.
If you'd like to be a guest on "Listing Agent Lifestyle", go to ListingAgentLifestyle.com. You can download a copy of the "Listing Agent Lifestyle" book, and if you click on the "Be a guest" link, that would let me know that you would like to be a guest and we can hatch some evil schemes for your business to get your "Listing Agent Lifestyle" underway. So that's it for this week. I will talk to you next time. Bye.