Looking for opportunities to be a Market Maker is one of the last remaining secrets to real estate. As the information becomes more available, the difference you can make is in your connections, and your ability to link buyers and sellers.
On today's Listing Agent Lifestyle podcast we're talking with Nate Brill from Surprise, Arizona.
Nate works in an area called Surprise Farms and we had a great conversation about Getting Listings in Surprise Farm and also about Finding Buyers so he can be a Market Maker in that area.
I really enjoy these kinds of conversations because we get to talk about the longevity of these campaigns and the most important thing; which is being able to connect people with what they really want. Buyers for their home.
Transcript: Listing Agent Lifestyle Ep035
Dean: Nate Brill.
Nate: Mr. Dean Jackson.
Dean: The Nate Brill. Look at this.
Nate: I know, man. How are you?
Dean: I'm good. I'm in Toronto right now. Just got back from London and Amsterdam, and-
Nate: Oh, goodness.
Dean: ... sitting here. It's a beautiful, beautiful day. It's just a perfect temperature. Where are you?
Nate: I think we might be up to, like, 110 today, but with the balmy monsoon weather we have, it feels a lot warmer than that.
Dean: Oh, perfect. Well, give it-
Nate: Yeah. Right?
Dean: Give it time. It's only 9:00 there, right?
Nate: Right. Exactly.
Nate: It was 118 the other day, so that's just the way it goes out here.
Dean: Well, there you go. We should probably tell people where that is for you.
Nate: Well, it's Phoenix. Phoenix and surrounding area.
Dean: There we go. I'm excited to chat and catch up and hear what's going on. Normally when I do these, some of the times I don't know people. But you and I got to spend some time ... You came to the Breakthrough Blueprint event in Orlando and we got to hatch some evil schemes for three days. So I'm anxious to get to catch up and hear what's been going on and see what we can build on.
Nate: Yeah, yeah. Well, that's cool. I'm excited.
Dean: Maybe what would be good is if you could just kind of just start and maybe tell the Nate Brill story to get everybody kind of up to speed, and then we can jump right in on where you think we can…
Nate: Yeah. Just so I know, are we recording right now?
Dean: Oh yeah. Dude, the whole thing. It's all raw. We got the whole hour, and-
Nate: Very cool.
Dean: Whatever happens, happens.
Nate: Cool. Well, awesome. Yeah, so I got into real estate, I don't know, call it four and a half years at this point. It's been a wild ride getting going. Been pretty exciting. When I first got into real estate, I still had my other job for only about three months, and I definitely can't say that I was doing real estate part time. I was actually really, effectively, doing both full time.
So, basically, I had a solid six months in 2014 where I was really rocking and rolling, and then 2015 being my first full year. We just basically jumped right up, did 73 transactions in '15. 2016, we did 80 transactions, and then something crazy happened last year and then we fell to 40.
Dean: Oh my goodness.
Nate: Yeah, tell me about it. It was really strange. We seem to be back doing really well this year but not quite as hot as 2016. 2016 was kind of a wild year out here in our market because it just ... It wasn't just me, but ... So what's been interesting is that the vast majority of my business since getting going has come from doing open houses. That's been a really good, effective way of getting business, but it has some drawbacks, which is part of why I'm kind of excited to talk to you today.
Also, it's really part of what excited me so much about discovering direct response because the thing with open houses, while they work really well because you kind of initiate this relationship on a face-to-face interaction, which is very different than any other lead source ... I think it makes that initial bond much stronger, but it also ... It's very one-to-one. It's very time intensive. One of the major drawbacks is that when it starts to be effective, you don't have time to service the business if you're going to keep doing the open houses.
So if you decide to keep doing the open houses, then you don't have time for buyers and stuff that come from the open houses who want to go out on Saturdays or whatever. I found that as I was developing my team, those people that ... The buyers, specifically, that I was meeting at the open houses were extremely difficult to transition over to a buyer's agent because they have this inherent expectation that they met me at the open house and they expect to work with me, not like an online lead or something where you can easily transition them to a buyer's agent or event start things with a buyer's agent.
Anyway, with all of that, I have very much dialed back my open house efforts, and that's probably partially causing some of the lower…
Dean: Wait a second. Yeah. I'm sensing some connection here.
Nate: Yeah, right. Well, no, no, no. In 2017, I did 84 open houses. So I definitely did not dial it back last ... I was gung-ho last year.
Dean: Gotcha. Gotcha.
Nate: But the other thing is that I am sort of making it a deliberate choice, even though it's coming with it being a little bit slower, because this year I think we'll probably end up around 60 transactions this year. So I think we're still going to do just fine. It just won't be like 2016, which is ... Whatever. But I am really enjoying more of this listing-centric focus because what I get from open houses, obviously ... I do get sellers, no question.
Dean: Of course.
Nate: It's just I get a lot of buyers, and, yeah.
Dean: Yeah, especially if they're move-up buyers or they're going to have a house to sell. Right? Yep.
Nate: Yeah. Absolutely. But anyway, no, I've been really excited this year getting to kind of finally discover what works and being able to do the one-to-many thing that comes with the canning and cloning and all that stuff that you and Joe talk about. It's been really cool. I'm learning, obviously, as I go. We just had our first official closing from our farming efforts as of earlier this week, actually.
Dean: Oh, that's awesome. That's exciting.
Nate: Yeah. We're not quite in the black yet. We're probably about 1,000 bucks away from actually being in the black, and we've got ... We definitely have solid traction with other people. It's just that was our first one to actually give us a check for it.
Dean: Right, right, right. I love it. So many things, jumping-off points, there. But what do you think ... Well, I think maybe what would be a good place for us to start is, since the goal is to transition to a listing-centric model here, to start out talking about getting listings. So that's the first element of our Listing Agent Lifestyle. If you're going to have a listing-centric business, it helps if you have a listing-getting system. Right?
Dean: You just had your first closing from that, so you've got a system in place now where you've been mailing. How long have you been sending the getting-listings postcards and going from there?
Nate: Yes. The getting-listings postcards just started basically when I got back from the Breakthrough Blueprint. But I effectively call my start in real director mailings into this neighborhood the beginning of 2018 because I had been mailing in there last year, but I had no idea what the hell I was doing. So I had nothing. It was just branding pieces, and it did nothing.
Dean: Right, right. Talk to me about the getting-listings ones specifically. So you've chosen how many homes? What's the area that you've kind of narrowed into here that you'd like to dominate?
Nate: We're just under 3,000 homes, which is about two-thirds of what this community ... It's a really, really big neighborhood. It's actually the neighborhood that I used to live in. It's called Surprise Farms, and it has roughly 4,500 homes in it. So we're mailing to about 3,000 of them right now and then trying to get that oil pump primed before we start to expand because this new community that I moved into would ratchet my price point up really nicely.
We would go from ... Right now in Surprise Farms, we're at 260, 280 kind of as an average. If we were to expand that and go into Peoria, that would get us more into the five-to-seven range, which would be really nice. But the difference is that five to seven doesn't move like 250 out here.
Dean: Right, and of course the people in the 250 are moving up to somewhere, too, right?
Dean: When people are selling in Surprise Farms, are they predominantly staying in the area, moving up, or are they moving out? What's happening?
Nate: What you actually find with a lot of the people that live in Surprise ... Surprise is about a half hour-
Dean: That's one of the greatest names ever, by the way.
Nate: Yeah, I know. It really is.
Dean: That's like Eureka. That's like Eureka, California, or Surprise, Arizona.
Nate: Exactly. Yeah.
Dean: It's like you're driving along and, Surprise!
Nate: Right. Exactly. And it's really a great little place. It's about a half hour, 45 minutes northwest of Phoenix. So it really is kind of a bedroom community, and people live here ... I mean, 92 percent of the workforce that lives in Surprise works outside of Surprise, which is an astonishing number.
So a lot of the people that are moving that live in Surprise Farms or just the Surprise general area are staying within that general vicinity of Surprise because you get so much more for your money and because it's not too terrible of a commute to get anywhere else. That's one thing that I really like about the area, is that it kind of keeps centrally located to getting business and staying within that area.
Dean: One of the things that I always like to do when I'm looking in an area there of homes where you're taking over something, that you've got 3,000 homes in there that you're mailing to. What's the turnover rate historically in Surprise Farms?
Nate: Historically, it's somewhere between seven and eight percent. I would love it to be closer to 10, but it's somewhere between seven and eight.
Dean: That's okay. So we do the math on that, and that means that out of those 3,000 homes, you're probably going to have a couple of hundred, 250 of them that are going to sell. Is that about-
Nate: It's actually more like 30 ... What was the number? 335, I think, was last year, and it was, like, three hundred and ... Maybe ... Yeah, I guess it's closer to eight percent.
Dean: Oh, you're saying that's all of Surprise for-
Dean: But I was saying of the 3,000 that you're mailing to, if we take that same-
Nate: Oh, gotcha.
Dean: You're not going to find the ones you're not mailing to. But the ones that you're mailing to, we're going to expect that 200 or 250 of them are going to sell. And that's our bank's line, right? So the whole purpose of this is to identify ahead of time who those 200 to 250 people are. That's what we're looking for.
Dean: Now, when you've mailed ... How many mailings have you done offering the true ... the getting-listings mailing into them?
Nate: The third one goes out today, actually.
Dean: Okay. How many so far have you identified as people who've responded so far?
Nate: That's actually something I wanted to ask you about. It's low. In fact, it's zero. What's been interesting ... And I've been trying to figure it out. I've been trying to deduce what's going on, but I haven't gotten any response from the neighborhood report. But I keep getting response from people on a home value report, a direct home value report.
Dean: I gotcha. What is the difference? If we were lining up the ... Like in a Can You Spot the Differences game. If we were lining up the original getting-listings postcard next to the postcard that you're mailing, could we spot a difference?
Nate: Oh yes. For sure.
Dean: Or have you got an exact forgery of an exact model of the getting-listings?
Nate: Yeah. The getting-listings postcard is literally identical to the one that ... the yellow with just the black text, no branding, no nothing. That's what doing for-
Dean: Right. Exactly.
Nate: ... the getting-listings postcards. But the one for my home value report, I don't know if you remember from the Breakthrough Blueprint, but I've got some fairly colorful stuff. Got lots of bright yellow and red and blues and all that.
Dean: Right. Exactly. More branding-oriented.
Nate: Yeah, and my-
Dean: So that seems almost impossible, Nate. That seems almost like there's something going on if there's been 9,000 postcards mailed and not a single response. There's something going on.
Nate: I know. I don't. I know. I've been flabbergasted by it.
Dean: I don't know if you follow in on the forum, but they ended up ... Just yesterday, somebody sent in ... They sent 175 postcards and got six responses.
Dean: It's way out of whack. From 3,000, I would expect that you would get at least 25 or 30 responses each time that you're mailing it. So there's something going on there. Have you double-checked the URL and the landing page, like gone all the way through the ... like looked for something just technically that's going on?
Nate: Yeah. I went. Okay. Let me take that back. No, I haven't gotten it from the postcard. I got one from a Facebook ad that we ran, which is ... That's another whole thing that I just can't seem to crack that code. Facebook itself is actually one of the only leads I've ever gotten from Facebook, even though I've tried a bunch and spent a lot of money, but it was leading to that same page, and I got a response from that.
So, no, technically it's working, and I went through it myself. But, yeah, it's ... The only difference between the standard postcard and what I was sending out is that I'm sending EDDM. But that's the only difference. It's still the yellow postcard. I don't know. I've really, truly been surprised by it.
Dean: Yeah. I'd love to see it first up because that ... So if we're looking at that, that's the two things I'm looking at, is saying, is it possible ... Are the postcards being delivered for sure? Because, yeah, that seems so out of whack.
Nate: One of my-
Dean: The EDDM. Sorry to stop you there, but if the EDDM is being mailed in a pile of all the other EDDM stuff, like all the flyers, in an easy-to-dispose-of bundle of stuff, that can sometimes really make a difference. We have people here ... I'm in Toronto right now, as I said ... that in Toronto, there's some flyer delivery services that people get excited about, like, "Oh, we can save money and get this flyer delivery service to mail the cards."
But then they get lower response because the reason that it's so cheap is that they're delivering this bundle of everything all at once, which everybody can easily pick up and dispose of the whole pile at once, as opposed to a postcard delivered with your standard mail. You know?
Nate: Yeah. I was trying to figure out if that could ... I don't know because every time ... because I get them, or I did, when I lived in that neighborhood. We literally just moved, but I know they were coming in, and one of my clients, who is a neighbor also, let me know that he got it. It wasn't provoked. He just told me, "Hey, I got your postcard."
So I know it's being delivered, and every time I got them, fortunately there's not a ton ... Certainly at least in terms of real estate mailers, there's only, like, two other realtors who mail anything in there, which is amazing.
Dean: Oh yeah. No, I'm not talking about it being in with other realtor mailers, but in with the grocery store coupon book or the flyer or the furniture place or the car dealer place, that big pile of stuff that gets delivered that way that kind of hides it. So that's ... We'll put an asterisk there because something's going to be ... We need to look into something like that because that's ... I've never heard of it.
Nate: Yeah. I don't know. Like I said, I was baffled. But yeah.
Dean: Yeah. Okay, so what we want to do, I think, was find, of these 250 people that are going to sell ... The whole reason that we do something, the offer like the report, is to identify people who are early in that stage where it's softer and easier for people to respond to an offer that is already done for them, meaning the report on Surprise Farms house prices versus the "Find out how much your Surprise Farms home is worth" is a very subtle difference psychologically.
I use it, like talking about in hospitality, even in the way we deal with people offering us things, that typically as a society, we've been raised to not impose on people. So if somebody offers you a cup of coffee or a tea or something, that typical response would be, "Are you having one? Because if you're having one, I'll have one, but don't boil the kettle for me. Don't go out of your way just for me."
The subtle difference of that is "Find out how much your house is worth" sounds like I'm going to ask you to do some custom work for me. You're going to have to go out of your way to prepare this report just for me, whereas the free report on Surprise Farms house prices sounds like I've already done all the work. I've already baked the cookies, so to speak. Would you like one? So that will get the most people to respond.
I've never seen us get blanked like that in a mailing of 3,000, so there's something ... We'll figure that out, but ... And it may be worth a test to try 1,000 that we mail first class or standard class to see the difference, because it could be a classic thing of that the savings is not worth it. The savings is costing you a lot.
Nate: Would it be worth trying it into a completely new different community?
Dean: Not until we know that ... We want to see if that is the challenge. Often, when I look at it, I know first of all that the difference ... And I'll see the postcard. This'll actually be a good thing for us to do a ... I'll have a little followup thing that I post up when we've solved the mystery of the missing responses here. But, often, when I look at it, if I'm troubleshooting it, the first thing that I look at is putting the postcards up in a lineup to look at them together and see, is there any variation or difference from the original?
You're saying it's identical and it would pass the twin lineup. That's something like ... A lot of times, people say, "Oh yeah, no, no. It's yellow. It's got the black text. It's this." But then when you actually look at it, then there are the logo and the slogan or some starbursts or-
Nate: None of that. There's none of that. Yeah.
Dean: ... some other sort of that thing. So I always have to caveat that. Then we look for the landing page. If you type in that URL, does it go right to the page and does the form actually go right through to you? So that all is very mysterious because that's a lot of impressions to not have anything. So we'll figure that out.
But now it might be a good thing to test 1,000 to the area with first class so we can track the delivery and see what happens.
Nate: It sure was a pretty unreal difference in price between the two. It was $1,800 if I were to go first class as opposed to just under $900. It was literally almost double to go first class compared to EDDM, and I just thought there's no, I mean, it's the same.
Dean: I know. You would think, right?
Dean: It'll be interesting to see what happens there. But if we look at this idea now that, in Surprise Farms, that the homeowners in there, there's 250 people right now who are either just now starting to think that they will sell their house this year or that are maybe thinking they'll do it next year or something that will be ... If we can identify those people ahead of time, that's the big win for us.
That would be the big win, that we would be able to know in advance now who the most likely people, the next most likely people, to sell their house in there. And we've got this kind of secret inventory of potential future sellers that we're building. Then it becomes the idea of, what can we do to start finding buyers of people who are looking in Surprise Farms without requiring the listings there?
Describe this Surprise Farms to me. Is it a planned or like a gated community? Is it a planned development, same builder?
Nate: Yes. It's basically just a gigantic subdivision, a very typical, very typical, 5,000, 6,000-square-foot lots, the houses. But here's the interesting thing about Surprise Farms: it has such a variety of price points. So it does have the super low end. For our market, it's climbing, but call it 180 to 200,000 would be very, very entry level. And then there are properties that go all the way up into the fives, some that are even pushing six at this point. So, yeah, we have kind of everything in between.
Dean: That's perfect. I imagine at 4,500 homes in that whole area, that that is a big enough area that it would work for micro-targeting for Facebook as well, with the one-mile radius, if we position the center point in the center of the community there, that that ... Within a one-mile or a one-and-a-half-mile radius, you're going to-
Nate: Yeah. I don't know what I'm missing there with Facebook because I've done every conceivable thing trying to get to mess with that, and the smallest radius it will allow me to do, at least with my talents, is nine miles.
Dean: Oh no. We'll get it down. You manually ... Yeah. You can manually type in one mile on the thing. So that'll fit it out, and you can actually do ... We kind of look at it and you can watch the circle expanding where you can say, "This ..." because it's from an address, not from a town. So you put in an address that would be right in the center of the community there, and then put in the one mile and then see what that happens. If you go 1.5, that makes the circle bigger and you start to see how many ... Typically within two adjacent circles or one, you can encompass the whole thing just depending on the orientation of the community.
Nate: My concern with radius is, particularly where this location is, where this neighborhood is, is that on the opposite side of this major road is all retirement homes. That is a diametrically opposed sort of community. It's so different the way they work over there, the clients, and all of that. And it's not one that I want to work, either.
Nate: So I don't know how to exclude that.
Dean: That's why looking at ... It's all about where you place the center point of the circle. You look at it and you place an address. It may be that when you look at the surrounding margins of the area, that you may find that there's space to the south or space to the east or west or whatever it is. And we can position the radius so that the edge of the radius goes to where that new ... the other area that you're talking about that you don't want to go to. It's just moving the center point around to find the exact area. In a thing the size of 4,500 homes, it may be two one-mile circles within the whole thing. So that's just kind of a fun thing, and I don't really worry about the overlap as much because in the ads, then, we call it out as Surprise Farms. So even if people don't live in Surprise Farms and they're seeing it in their newsfeed, they're not going to notice.
I put up an example. We did this in Lake Ashton in Winter Haven, so posted that up in the Go Go Agent blog to see the entire ad and how we do that. That's what I would model.
Nate: Okay. What's a typical spend look like on a daily basis? Because I did.
Dean: Yeah. I look at the reach and frequency on these as if you're mailing postcards into the area. So I look at it that we're building that audience of the homeowners in that one-mile or two-circle radius, and they are the newsfeed that when we use the lead ads product for Facebook, when you're scrolling through your newsfeed, I look at that as a postcard.
Essentially, that's what we're doing, is we're duplicating the postcard in the newsfeed. So the measurement that I have is, just look what happened when we did the Lake Ashton one. I'll get you the exact numbers here while we're talking. Lake Ashton report. So we did this for one day. As our test, we spent $20 and we got ... How many responses did we get for that? For Lake Ashton report, eight leads for $20.
Nate: I've never gotten eight leads in. I don't know what is wrong with what I'm doing on Facebook, but I'm getting nothing. I get news or whatever.
Dean: Yeah. We're using the exact language from the postcard on that. We had a total reach of 365 people. So it's almost like mailing 365 postcards. That's the way I look at it. 365 people scrolled, and remember, that doesn't sound like much, but we're only going ... We've locked it down to only homeowners who live in this one-and-a-half-mile radius. There are maybe 2,000 homes, I think, in Lake Ashton, where we are set with a smaller radius. But we just modeled exactly the getting-listings postcard and used the lead ad product, and 106 or 365 postcards or impressions and eight leads for a cost per lead of $2.14.
So that ... I like to do something like that to supplement the mailings that you're doing because then it's a great followup where, if somebody saw the postcard and then they see it and they're online, and now it's, "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I meant to get that." That's kind of what it is, is that we're coming behind the mailing. It's not something that you run constantly because the pool is so small that you start reshowing the same ad over and over to that same group, and it loses the response. So your cost per lead goes up as a result.
So we just do it as a blanket and look to see. If we're still getting new impressions, then we continue to do it. But just the experiment to show what can happen just with a $20 ad spend in 24 hours.
Nate: Yeah. That's ... Yeah. I would love to figure out what is different about what you guys have done there other than just the super hyper targeting, but I mean just the ad itself. I took all of the verbiage directly from the getting-listings postcard. I mean everything. And I made the image basically the cover of it, just like it would show on the postcard. I made the actual ad text to be that of the postcard. Yeah, and I got one. And I had much more than 365 because I didn't know how to narrow in any further.
Dean: Right, right, right. Yeah. I gotcha. Yeah. We'll get you figured out. We'll do that. We can do the ad setup for you.
Dean: Just to see what's going on there. That'll be a nice thing. Is there an image of Surprise Farms that would be recognizable to people in Surprise Farms?
Nate: No, unfortunately. Not really. That's part of the problem, is that there's not really a good ... What I have is a drone shot. It's actually a really pretty picture.
Dean: Yeah. That's an overhead, yeah, overhead shot.
Nate: Yeah, and it shows it and it's got ... Like where the text says, it says Surprise Farms Price Report. It has the nice, pretty blue sky with some clouds, that stuff. It's a really nice image, but it's super simple. But that's what I was using as the image for not only the cover but also for the ad itself on Facebook.
Dean: Okay. All right. So we'll get that figured out. So we don't have any other data to report on that. So we gotta solve that thing, and then let's talk about some of the other things which you've got going on and what we can do from there.
Nate: One of the nice things ... And this is another sort of ... Call it a reason, or it seems like an advantageous time to kind of start transitioning, not out of ... It's not like I'm not doing open houses. I just did one the other day. It's just that it's not going to be such a central piece. But, anyway, a big reason for that is because my time in the business is getting longer, and obviously with that comes more clients, comes more recognition by my sphere of influence that this is what I do, and then clients have been turning over.
Anyway, at this point, between past clients, sphere of influence, and referrals, we're at, like, 75 percent, which is awesome. I want to build a business that's built off of that type of foundation. We've been mailing for a long time what we call our Happy Home, which is a ... Call it a newsletter but not really. It doesn't have anything to do with us. We feature one of our top, what we call Leroy’s List, which is basically one of our preferred vendors, contractors, whoever, painters. We've got an attorney that we featured. People like that.
We feature them, and that's kind of front and center when you flip it open. And then we have this other thing that we're doing, which is kind of fit, to try and raise money for Make A Wish. We have that on the backside of it, and then we just actually, this one is getting ready to go out in July. We incorporated into that the world's most interesting postcard. We basically took that and made that sort of called the interesting portion of the newsletter.
Dean: The world's most interesting portion of this newsletter.
Nate: Yeah, and we're mailing out to about 200, at this point, it's going to be, like, 225 people that fall into this category of somebody that we would want that to go to. It's intentionally not a large audience.
Dean: Yeah. Well, they're relationships, right?
Nate: Exactly. Right.
Dean: That's what I say to people, is that when we look at this is Listing Agent Lifestyle element number three: getting referrals. With this list, you've got 225 people that are a mix of your clients and people that you know, right?
Nate: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dean: All people that you would recognize if you saw them. You have a relationship with them. So when you look at that, you mentioned that your referral rate, you're at 75 percent repeat and referral. But that's a relative number, right? So 75 percent of your business is that, but what we like to look at as a standardized metric, so everybody gets a perspective of what we're working with here, is that we take your 225 and we divide by the number of actual repeat and referral transactions, and that works as a number to calculate your return on relationship.
So if you said ... How many transactions did you do for repeat and referral in the last 12 months or last year or whatever your latest measurement was taken?
Nate: I'd have to add that up because I get it, because right before our call, I looked at the numbers and I guess I did it wrong. I was looking at return on relationship as how many referrals I had received from that, so probably not the best indicator that I have. But that, I've gotten 27 actual referrals this year, but not all of them, obviously, have closed.
Dean: Right. All I'm measuring, like closed transactions are ones that are sourced as repeat and referral. See, we'd get more referrals than transactions that actually close from it. But all we're measuring on your return on relationship is the closed transactions that came from repeat or referral.
When I say "repeat," I mean that they're an existing client or that's somebody that you know that is a friend that is like a direct source that they said, "Hey, we're ready to buy a house now," or, "Can you help us sell our house?" as opposed to somebody saying, "Hey, I'm a friend of John, and they told me to give you a call."
Dean: So our gold standard ... Yeah. What we're looking for, for that, is to get in the 20 percent ballpark of return on relationship. That's kind of the gold standard that we're shooting for. So that would mean out of that 225, we're looking to get pretty close to 50 repeats and referral transactions that come from that. Yeah. Now, most people we look at do the measurement on 150 people because that's what most people are comfortable with. But you're running a sort of higher-volume business anyway because you've done multiple trends. So you've probably done that many transactions over the last four years that you've been in.
So everybody who's living in the house that you helped them buy is included in that. That's who should be getting all of this.
Dean: Yeah. So I think if we look at that, it sounds like when you do the calculations, then now you'll have a good understanding of how to calculate it.
Nate: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It makes my number not as great, for sure.
Dean: But it makes it, you know, here's the thing. It makes it useful because now you know what standard is. Now you know how to measure and compare about what ... Say you look at Chuck Charlton, who's got a pretty close to 30 percent return on relationship, and you start to see, okay, what is he doing different than what we're doing? You know?
Nate: Yeah. Yeah, and I ... So I'm curious, and I think this will tie in not only the question regarding return on relationship but also just the getting listing campaigns. How much of this is a matter of being patient and letting time do what it does? Because I've been-
Dean: A lot of it.
Nate: Yeah. I kind of figured.
Dean: Yeah. The thing that I'm concerned about, though ... Because it is time. But the thing that I'm concerned about is that it's unreasonable to not have any responses in three months. That's broken, so we need to figure that out first. I was just looking at Tony Kelsey's chart. He gave me the updated stuff. He was at the Breakthrough Blueprint here in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, and so in September, we will have five-year results, five years' worth of numbers.
So when we left off that infographic that I show in, I guess probably in episode two or three of the podcast. He mailed for five months before he closed his first transaction, but he's continued to mail every month for four and a half years now or closing in on five years in a couple of months. What was really telling about it is that we tracked on that infographic both the commissions as they happened, like the cumulative tally of both the spend and the income, and then we also tracked, when did people initially respond to the postcard? Like trailing it back from that commission event.
What we found was that in the first four years, he did 13 transactions from people that responded to the postcard in that first five months. He mailed from September to February and closed one transaction, but over the next three and a half years, he did an additional 13 transactions from the people who responded in that first five months. So the longevity of it… What I'm noticing now, at the end of that four years, he had done 550,000, roughly 553 or something like that, and had spent $50,000 over the four years, so had 11-to-1 ROI.
But when we looked at the chart last month, six months through this year, he was already at, now, 674 and not much, maybe up to 60,000 on the total spend or whatever. But he was starting to see that the slope of the curve is going steeper on the end.
Nate: Yeah. Right.
Dean: Because what's happening is, since he's been mailing for four years, he's got all of the people that have been gestating for ... You get all the immediate people who are ready, all the people who have been gestating for one year, the people who have been gestating for two years, for three years. You've got just a bigger snowball.
Nate: Build time. Yeah.
Dean: You've got this bigger asset of unconverted home sellers.
Nate: Are these people just continually getting the neighborhood prices card every month?
Dean: Every single month.
Nate: I know they're getting the postcard, but they're also getting the price report itself every month, right?
Dean: Yes. Once people respond, then they get the monthly ... They get the Get Top Dollar newsletter and the monthly price report and the cover letter and the helping people on the move. They get monthly mailing, the monthly package that goes to everybody.
What happens is that the real asset is that the person who's raised their hand, the knowledge that you have now that that person is likely to sell their house in the next 12 months, 14 months, 36 months. So you're taking this sort of long-term approach to Surprise Farms that you're gathering up out of the 3,000 people that you're mailing to.
What we'd love to see is to get to a point where you've got 250 or 300 of them that have raised their hand and are getting the monthly newsletters, and you've got a Google Map layer with a pin on where they live so that whenever you're showing houses in Surprise Farms, you can send them a market maker email. "Hey, Nate, I'm showing houses."
Nate: What do you do if you don't have their email address? Certainly from the other leads that I've gotten from my other stuff, all that I have gotten is just their address. They don't want to give up their email address or phone number or whatever.
Dean: Right, and you're ... That's the kind of thing. I know exactly what you're talking about. The other thing that you've been doing, and what some people do, is they go to a landing page and they're putting in their property address, and that's it. That way, they're thinking that it's this automated thing, that they're going to put it in and it's going to spit out what their house is worth. But then it goes to the next phase, which, what's your contact information?
So it's a little bit bait-and-switchy, in a way, but it feels like that, whereas when we're offering the report, the fact that it's a report that we're going to mail to you is ... There are much more ... They're leaving their mailing address, their contact information along with their email address. That's how we get it.
But if you've got their physical address, if that's all you have, then you can send a handwritten note to them. When you do your Market Maker Monday. I could send you a handwritten note, say, "Hey, Nate, I'm showing houses this week in Surprise Farms, and there are only a couple of homes in the ..." whatever this area of it is. "And I remember looking up your house online when I sent you the house value," or we would say the report. "I'm not sure what your plans are, but I thought I'd check and see if I could sell your house. It seems like it might be a perfect match. Give me a call or text me at this number."
That would be a welcome sort of communication to get if you are someone who's thinking about selling. This could be a golden opportunity.
Nate: Now, to get buyers ... Obviously, buyers come from having ... You could get buyer referrals, but you also get them from your sellers who are selling their home and buying another home and all that. I know we were talking about this at the Breakthrough Blueprint, about finding category-specific buyers. Is the best way to do that through channels like Facebook?
Dean: That's one. Channels like Facebook, like AdWords or Bing. I love Bing. It's always very easy to set up. I like to start there. Then print ads are another great source. If you've got like a Homes and Land Magazine or you've got some sort of equivalent where people who are looking for a home in Surprise Farms might ... Whatever the magazine that would cover that area would be, to now have this category offer of The Guide to Surprise Farms House Prices, to give people an idea of, what is this Surprise Farms all about?
So it's like the guide to Surprise Farms where they get to see, well, how much are ... What are the different types of homes that are available? How many homes? What are the amenities? Give me a map of the area. Somebody who's looking to get the lay of the land of Surprise Farms as a buyer before their, or in addition to their, inquiries that they're making about specific listings.
Everybody loves to have all the information. Of course, somebody looking in Surprise Farms, if that's an area they're considering, it would just make sense that they would want to gather this information to have in their files. That's where-
Nate: That's just a matter of... Go ahead.
Dean: That's where you're triangulating that stuff, and that's where, when you're doing things like in Craigslist, Surprise Farms, and offering ... You're doing daily tours of Surprise Farms. If you had a Craigslist ad that showed how many homes there are in Surprise Farms that are for sale right now and saying Daily Tour of Homes: 10:00 and 1:00.
Nate: I heard one of your other ... I think it was one of your ... the Listing Agent Lifestyle, I don't know, convention or whatever, where everybody comes together. And you were asking the audience about their success with Craigslist because obviously, for a time, Craigslist was huge. People were doing tons of stuff. But are you finding that that's still effective on Facebook?
Nate: I mean, not on Facebook. On Craigslist.
Dean: Yeah, on Craigslist. Yeah. It either is or it isn't. If it is, if you're in an area where ... Surprise is kind of an outlier. It's not bundled into Phoenix kind of thing. Surprise is a separate kind of thing. Then it may be just the right thing. It's amazing to see how many leads Dana's getting from Facebook up there in Maine. It's amazing.
Nate: Facebook or Craigslist?
Dean: Well, from Craigslist. Yeah. Sorry.
Nate: Oh, Craigslist. Wow. Yeah, that's just...
Dean: So if you look at it, does Surprise have its own category on Facebook or is it...
Nate: No. It's just they have West Valley, North Phoenix, Central Phoenix, East Phoenix.
Dean: Okay. There you go.
Nate: That's the only ... Yeah.
Dean: So Surprise, if you use the lead words there, Surprise. Do you have any listings in there now?
Nate: Yeah. I actually have-
Dean: That's even better. Then you're set.
Nate: I have, like ... Yeah, I think I have three coming up this week in Surprise. So yeah.
Dean: Okay. Well, you're set. Then that's what you advertise, is the instant open house version of that, almost essentially the same language that we put on the info box flyer. If you just put ... You can't directly link to it, but you can put the URL, and people ... Now they don't even have to cut and paste. Most browsers, if you just highlight it, it'll pop up and say, "Go to that," and you click on it and off you go.
So it's almost as easy as one click and you're there. And then when they go, the first thing they see, we've got the instant open house landing page so that they leave their name and their email. Yeah, it's a great thing. Plus you can add in that ad there, plus you do daily tour.
Nate: Daily tours. Right. Yeah. And there's still, I mean, just kind of like with the Breakthrough Blueprint, there are so many different avenues to go here or things that need attention. This has been a very different year for me than my previous years because it has been very, very heavily focused on getting the marketing right so that I'm not so… because there's nothing worse than looking every single weekend in a row.
Dean: What's very important, and most people don't really ... They underestimate this, so you're really in the right place in that, for most people, getting the marketing objectives right is the first big step forward, like to know at least what the objectives are now. That's why when we lay out the elements of the Listing Agent Lifestyle, we know what the objectives are. We got the metrics that we're looking to measure your progress.
So that's why when we talked about your listing multiplier index, we talked about your return on relationship. We talked about your yield from your getting listings areas. They're all to give you an indicative track to run on so we know that right now the main thing we need to solve is this mystery of the missing postcards. We need to do on the scene here.
Nate: So what do we do about that?
Dean: Well, I'm going to have ... As soon as we get wrapped up here, I'm going to have Diane do the stats to see if there are any visits to the landing page. At least we can measure those stats that ... So if there's no visits to the landing page, then we got to ... The disconnect is that I believe people are not seeing the postcard.
I'll make a note for Diane that you want to test the Lake Ashton Facebook version, too, so we can show you.
Nate: Yeah, I absolutely do. Yeah, I really want to try that.
Dean: Yeah. Awesome.
Nate: Okay. Cool.
Dean: Man, you know what? I love your enthusiasm. You are, I think ... Here's the thing, is that you just take to things and you love it, and I know you really want to do great. So I'm happy.
Nate: Yeah. It drives my wife nuts.
Dean: I'm happy to be on the journey with you.
Nate: Yeah, and it's been a blast to get all this stuff kind of dialed in. It's a long-term education process, but I'm getting there. Slowly but surely, but I'm getting there because I am an implementer if nothing else.
Dean: That's exactly right. Awesome. Well, thanks for sharing. It was a really great conversation. Loved it.
Nate: Absolutely, and thank you for the opportunity.
Dean: Thanks, Nate. I'll talk to you soon.
Nate: All right. Sounds good.
And there we have it. Another great episode. If you'd like to continue the conversation, you can go to ListingAgentLifestyle.com. You can download a copy of the Listing Agent Lifestyle book, the manifesto that shares everything that we're talking about here. And you can be a guest on the show if you'd like to talk about how we can build a Listing Agent Lifestyle plan for your business. Just click on the Be A Guest link at ListingAgentLifestyle.com.
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