Ep061: Jason Gruner

Today on the Listing Agent Lifestyle podcast we're talking with Jason Gruner.

Now this is a special episode because Jason lives in Nashville, but he runs a real estate team in North Carolina remotely!

You've heard me talk about the concept of ghost restaurants. Well, Jason's running a ghost realtor operation from his home in Nashville.

He's making all the right moves. We talked about his implementation of our Getting Listings program and the progress they're making by targeting 21 different areas on facebook. We talked about the Listing Multipliers and the difference that makes to each transaction. We talked about referrals and some really great strategies for finding specific buyers.

So this one is a special treat and you're going to want to shut yourself in a room, away from all the noise and distractions, to really listen in on this one.

You're going to get some great executable ideas.

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Transcript: Listing Agent Lifestyle Ep061

Dean: Jason.

Jason: Dean Jackson.

Dean: There he is. How are you?

Jason: Doing well, how about yourself?

Dean: I am good. Just got back from Miami for a few days. And back in Winter Haven.

Jason: Fantastic.

Dean: So where are you calling in from today?

Jason: Nashville, TN.

Dean: Nashville proper, or a suburb, or where?

Jason: Specifically, just out in the Brentwood, TN area is where I am today.

Dean: Okay, my favorite.

Jason: Live in Nashville proper. And the real estate team's actually in eastern North Carolina.

Dean: Oh, wow. Okay, this is perfect. So I'm very excited. We get to spend a whole hour here and hatch some evil schemes for you, talk about our listing agent lifestyle. And let me catch up here, and maybe tell me the Jason story so far. I know you've been working on some of our programs for a while. So tell me what's up.

Jason: Sure thing. You want me to start at the beginning-

Dean: Yeah.

Jason: Or just kind of when I started with your stuff?

Dean: No, tell me right at the beginning. Because I love to have the context for everything.

Jason: Sure thing. Yeah, sure thing. So 2004, graduated college, went to work for a rural waterfront land developer, doing sales. We would do an ad in the Washington Post. We did 1000 phone calls over the weekend, direct to sales marketing. And then we talk everybody into coming down for the grand opening release, and then run out and sell a lot for the weekend. So that was 2004 to 2007.

Dean: Everybody was getting their credit lines on their own house to buy them, and whatever. Yeah.

Jason: And there were cover studies on Forbes Magazine about buying land and real estate. So it made it really, really easy, and everybody thought they were smarter than they really were. But I got to see up firsthand this direct response marketing in action. Just the purest form of, "Call this number. Come on this day. Do you want to buy it or not?" Which is great. So I got some great exposure there, bounced around, worked for a couple of different developers in that world. Then obviously the whole market changed, and that kind of program went away. And transitioned into more traditional real estate, but really focused on working with home builders.

So we'd find land and sort of production home builder. We really focused on guys who were between building 75 homes to 700 homes a year. You know, that production home builder that wasn't quite big enough, and really wasn't in a stance to do true in-house sales. Give it to a broker. And we just said, "We'll provide the in-house sales experience for you guys." We spent a ton of money online. At that time, it was mostly pay per click and display ads in Google. So it was really easy to have them look at your website, then have an ad follow them around. And you look really, really smart as an agent. And they were like, "Ooh, this is great. We'll definitely do that."

Dean: Yeah, remember when re-targeting was just getting started. And you used to think, "Man, those guys must have a huge ad budget. I see them everywhere."

Jason: We got screenshots. I was on ESPN, or the Wall Street Journal, and saw my house on there. This is unbelievable. But I really loved that. So we had some great relationships with the builders. Then as the market got better... Fortunately, I was lucky enough to see some of the writing on the wall. You know, as the market gets better, what we typically see in the cycle is these builders all end up hiring consultants who tell them to ring in on site sales. It has to be systemized. It's just more effective if you're not using a broker.

So we kind of knew that was going to phase out. And I kind of had to figure out what was best for me, and just I have been following your stuff since the very first I Love Marketing Conference in Phoenix.

Dean: Wow, great.

Jason: So after I first got connected with you, because Tim Ferris went on the podcast with you and Joe, and I've followed Tim Ferris's stuff forever, and just actually went to the conference in Phoenix. And it was awesome. So it was always in the back of my mind like, "This makes sense for general real estate. I don't really need it right now. But one day, I might need to figure it out."

Dean: Right, right.

Jason: And so I always knew that there was something there. I played around with a listing agent, like the first part of the Getting Listings Program. Would do it for a month, and didn't do great follow up. And then about nine months ago, I really dove into it. Because I've got two agents that work for me on the team. And I picked one of them and picked one neighborhood. I said, "I really, really want to try this. I want to do this from the Facebook perspective." Because I have pretty good working knowledge of the ad marketplace for the Facebook stuff. And we picked one neighborhood and did it. And of course, absolutely spoiled, got a listing on the first month.

Dean: Ah, I love it. That's great.

Jason: I was like, "It's perfect. I'll gladly fund this, and let me find what's next." And so ran that one for like three of four months, and then really, really dove into it. We now have 21 neighborhoods that we're doing it for.

Dean: I love it.

Jason: And so that's kind of where we at. We've had the 21 neighborhoods for three months, and could not be happier at the results. Got almost a million dollars’ worth of listings in January so far directly from it. And it's just such an eye-opening thing for my agents, when they get a phone call from someone that said, "Hey, Maria. We got this package. We're in a situation where we have to sell them house. It sounds like you really know the neighborhood. Can you come out and talk to me about it?" And they're sitting there holding a 20 page booklet with every house we've sold in their neighborhood the last 12 months. When she walks in the house, it's, "Hey, Maria. How you doing? What do we need to list it for?"

Dean: Yes. That's music to my ears. You know the whole thing, it's like that's the toughest thing that I have to convey to people, that you don't need to call them and pressure them. They're going to call you. And it's so out of the norm for what we're used to. That they're used to having to jump on people and close for an appointment. And, you know?

Jason: It's so funny you say that. Because I've probably tried every program ever for general real estate. Zillow leads, Raltor.com leads, conversion sites, realty sites. Every single one. And it's just everything you listen to is, "You call them three times in the first five minutes." And on those Zillow calls, you're paying a couple of hundred dollars for that person to call in, when you really break down the math. And it's like, you just feel terrible if you weren't able to get it. And so you're just living with this anxiety of this instant response. And after doing that for a while, I said, "This isn't going to work long term. This is crazy. There has to be a better way to do it." And just the physical piece of mail that's like a big piece that winds up in their mailbox because they requested it every month, is just such a big difference.

Dean: Yeah, So you're doing a hybrid then.

Jason: Yeah.

Dean: So you're only doing the Facebook ads for the lead generation. You're not sending the postcards.

Jason: So on the 21 neighborhoods, we're doing the last Facebook ads. Our average lead on the neighborhood comes in about $8. This month, we picked four of the bigger neighborhoods and did a postcard, just to kind of test it and see where we came in. Got pretty good results. The cost is about three times as much. I think it was like 21 from the postcard campaign. So in my mind, I like doing those. And if it's a neighborhood that we haven't gotten one in a month or two, in my mind it makes sense to, "Okay, send a postcard this month," rather than doing both every month. Just if there's one that's lagging, send a postcard to it. Or if it's one that we've gotten a couple odd listings in, certainly. So, you know, just kind of play it by ear.

Because, I mean, you know, for a 500 unit development, that's going to be 200-300 bucks to get the postcards out. So that's why the Facebook thing is just so attractive. And I've kind of experimented on that as well. We've done four day, three day, two day, one day. You know, $20, $30, and just kind of messed around with it a little bit. And it does make tons of difference.

Dean: What have you found? Yeah, okay. Because we've found, when we run them, because we're going to such small areas, right? Like, you're doing the micro-targeting the way we do it.

Jason: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Dean: Yeah, so you narrow it down. And even that was an eye opener for most people, to be able to see that you could get that to just go to Cypresswood or just go to Lake Ashton. And I liken it I mean, I'm super excited about it because that's been a way of really getting into somebody's, I call it their digital mailbox. You know? Like their screen here.

And how we've had really good success with it is, we'll mail the postcards. We've been mailing the postcards every month because it's still the standard thing, right? And we get an incredible ROI on it. But we mail the postcards. And then I have Diane, go out and do a video in front of the gates of the neighborhood. So she'll stand out there and say, you know, "This is Diane reporting live from Lake Ashton with your January report on Lake Ashton house prices. And you may have seen this postcard arrive in your mailbox, offering this report, which'll show you all the activity that's happened in Lake Ashton." And then she'll give them the updates for December.

And December, there were just raw numbers not any of the details of it. And so you can visit. Go to this URL, or just click on this. Click download now. And I'll send you the report. And that has been a really great amplifier for us. Because I started thinking about this ecology of how it actually happens. Like, the postcard arriving in their mailbox. They come home at the end of the day. They get the mail. They're walking in the house. They've got the groceries, and the kids, and the dog, and all that going on. They see the postcard, and they maybe decide right then that they want to get it. But it's unlikely that they're going to drop everything and go to website right now.

So they place it aside. And then they go on and get everything unpacked, then get dinner ready, and get the kids ready for bed. And everybody's all settle down. And then they're watching Real Housewives or something, and they're just kicking back watching TV. And a commercial comes on, which is not the universal signal to pick up your phone and start scrolling on your social media. So they pick it up, and then here comes this video, with what looks like a newswoman right outside the gates of Lake Ashton. So you're going to watch that. And it's easy, then, for them to just click the button and do it.

So we've been generating those leads for, you know, in the two and three dollar range for those, as an amplifier. So what we find is that when we run it, I treat it like doing the postcard drop. And what I mean by that is, I've watched the reach number, and the frequency. So when I get to, you know, I find that at 24 to 30 hours, we've basically reached everybody that we're going to reach kind of thing. And then it started to duplicate. So you start to see that once the reach or frequency gets to 1.5, you'll notice that the response will tail off, and your cost per lead, overall goes up.

So if you're showing, I look at it as the same as mailing postcards, in a way, right? Like, if you reach 1000 people, you've sent 1000 postcards, and you're going to get the response that you get. But continuing to show the ad to the same people is like mailing the same postcard three days in a row to the same people. Right? Because you'll end up, see your frequency goes up to 1.5, 1.8. It's just the same people seeing it again.

Jason: Makes sense.

Dean: So that's kind of how we do it as an amplifier. It’s really amazing. We're going to be doing some Just Listed version like that too. Because Diane, we're kind of, well, you see in the member blog and in the forum, we're posting up Diane's live progress kind of thing. So we've got a listing that we're going to do all the listing multipliers with, you know, with the info box, and the instant open house, and Just Listeds and all that. So we'll document and show all of that. But Facebook will be a good part of that too.

Jason: Absolutely. That makes perfect sense. So just to go a little bit deeper, so for February, you will do a postcard. And then you do a new live update video every month.

Dean: Yeah.

Jason: And then do you run an image ad as well? Or just a video?

Dean: Yeah. So we do, essentially, there's two different versions that we do, of the Facebook ad. So the first is like recreating the postcard, the actual postcard that we mail. Same copy, same mail.

Jason: And those are the ones we use.

Dean: Okay, so yeah. So you send that in. And it's just a static picture. And so we do that same approach though, right? Like, 24, 30 hours. We let the frequency gets to 1.5 and we shut it off because that's just optimizing. And we're looking to just treat it like that, as a thing. Because it's such a small audience, you know? That it's not like we're trying to show it again and again and again. So yeah, so that's what we do. Those two things. So we basically show the ad in the neighborhood. So showing ads in the neighborhood for probably two or three days total throughout the month.

Jason: That makes perfect sense. I'll keep an eye on the frequency thing, and kind of track it at that 1.5 number for February and see.

Dean: Yeah, you know, if you're using the ad manager, you can see the last seven days, the chart of how it happens. And you'll see that you probably, like most, you get most of your response in the first 24 hours. And then it kind of tails off from there.

Jason: Perfect. Have you tested weekend versus weekday?

Dean: I don't know that we have. Yeah, for this kind of thing, it's like that used to be the more, back when being online was still sort of a novelty, it used to be a bigger thing. But right now, it's like that's the primary place anyway. So nobody's taking weekends off from being online. Everybody's online every minute of every day. You know? That's the reality. That's just the way it is. Yeah, that's the primary world now.

I got a text from Chuck Charlton two days ago, telling me that he just listed a house from somebody who responded to his very first Getting Listings mailing 14 years ago. 14 years is the record, Jason.

Jason: That's a good one.

Dean: We started this in December of 2005, was the official launch of the Getting Listings program. And Chuck was the guy who got the very first listing, before I did it as a six week course kind of thing. And Chuck was the guy who got the very first listing, in the first place. Would have been like you, like your experience of mailing it out and somebody calling. So that was how he kind of showed up on my radar. But he's gone on. I mean, it's been a huge thing for him, which was great.

Jason: Yeah. Absolutely.

Dean: But 14 years is something.

Jason: That's crazy.

Dean: Yeah. And you've seen the infographic that we did with Tony Kalsey.

Jason: Sure, yeah, absolutely.

Dean: You know, I was shocked. We added up the fifth year here. He had people who had responded. You know, I did listings for people who'd responded in 2013, '14, '15, '16, '17, and '18 last year, which just shows you the value, the asset value of those leads that you're generating, and just the consistency of staying in touch with them. And overall, he's converted about eight and half percent of the total number of leads overall, over that time. So that's a pretty strong number.

Jason: Yeah, that makes sense. So that's your 12 to 13.

Dean: Yeah. Oh, that's right. So that would make sense. Right.

Jason: Yeah. That math checks out.

Dean: That math checks out. That's right. Good, good, good. Yeah, yeah. So that's kind of a cool thing. And so, you know, you got that to look forward to, right?

Jason: Yeah, absolutely.

Dean: You're still young in that. How many months did you say? Three or four?

Jason: Three. February will be the fourth month of doing all 21 neighborhoods. So early on in the month for sure.

Dean: I love it. So do you have any questions or things about getting listings? Or you feel pretty locked in on that? It's just really the execution of it for you right now.

Jason: I feel pretty locked in on it. It's actually a funny story, on the execution of it. Because when I was doing the one neighborhood, it was, you know, I'm doing it for one of my agents. Because obviously, I'm not there. So I'm just doing all the marketing and fulfillment for her. And, you know, it was print out a big Avery label, or try to custom print on a 9-by-12. And then print this out from my house. And it's like, "All right, for one neighborhood with 10 or 15 of these, this isn't the end of the world. But how am I really going to scale this? This probably isn't realistic, in terms of fulfillment." So you go talk to print shops and stuff like that. And it's always entertaining to go in there and say, "I want seven of those custom printed, folded, stapled, custom envelope on the outside. And then I want you to mail it for me too." And it's a run of 21 separate things of five to 40. You know, and all the envelopes are custom printed, to have the address on them.

And so I had to figure that out. Because one thing I love about, since I followed you, is making friction less. And so I was like, "All right, well then there are copy machines that can do this, instead of me standing around and pricing the $30,000 printer." And then I gotta put this somewhere in my.

Dean: Hey, I'm kind of losing you, Jason. You're getting muffled there, for some reason.

Jason: Sorry, Dean. You still there?

Dean: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You were getting to the good part. I didn't want to lose any of it.

Jason: I know. And so I found a pack and ship and print shop for sale near to where we live in Tennessee. And went and met with the guy, and numbers worked out, where that we do packing and shipping out of the front of it, and he had the full service printer in the back of it. And so I've got four employees that work at the front. And so all I do now, and it's been trial and error, and more error than trial, to figure this out. But I've essentially got it now, where I can send an email and say, "Hey, here's the Excel file. Go ahead and create all the custom mailers. Print those. And then here is the weekly newsletter and everything else in one print file. Print that out, put it in there, put the postage on it, and send it out. And I can have that all automated without having to go down there and do it.

I mean, I just continue to refine that process; those monthly mailers are for sale out of that store, without me having to go do anything. And by the time you price it out with a professional, I mean, you can get up to 10, 12 bucks a piece. And we're able to get that cost down so low because we're essentially doing everything at cost and the labor's already there for me. I don't know how you do it without something like that.

Dean: Yeah, I'll tell you, like, you know, it's assistance, for sure. That's really the thing. Because we were doing it here in Winter Haven with Julie Matthews, we were doing it for, running the before unit and the after unit there. But we would have a little, you know, everything would be done right there. And we've got a local print shop that will do all the stuff. But we had a spreadsheet, essentially, to make it easy. Just like you're saying. It's just a logistics issue. Once you get the logistics right, it's easy, It flows. You know?

But it's just, you know, there's the thing. It's like you're doing things. The reason that people call you up and say, "You seem to be really on top of this area. We want you to come and list our house," is because you're specifically talking about their neighborhood. They don't care about the other areas the way that they care about their own. And that goes a long way.

A lot of times people try and make it simpler on themselves by doing it more generic. By taking in the town instead of dividing up the 21 individual areas like you're doing. You know? That's really the thing. It's one of those things that, with a little bit of effort, is what makes it remarkable. You know? I think it makes a big different. So congratulations. That's awesome. I love that.

Jason: I appreciate it.

Dean: So, have you calculated your listing multiplier index? Have you gone down that path yet? Or are you focused?

Jason: Yeah.

Dean: Okay. Tell me what you're doing there.

Jason: So like I told you, I've got two ladies that work for me. And I just had them each do it. We went through the last 10 listings for each one. Looked at one of them, that's at 2.3. And the other one is at 1.7. The one at 2.3 has a little bit more experience. He does have some more listings coming in. And then the big thing, where we have seen the kind of biggest multiplier for us is, we do the "coming soon" Facebook campaign to an extremely targeted audience, just like you guys suggest. And I mean, the last one we did, it was a great house. Right price point. Good area. We knew it was going to sell. Talked to the sellers. "Hey, we want to build up some momentum for this. Give us a week to market it as coming soon. And then for Saturday, we'll have a bunch of showings, potentially have multiple offers. That's the quickest and best way to sell it for the most amount of money."

Dean: Yeah.

Jason: We ran a $250 Facebook ad, wound up with 87 leads from it, ended up double-siding the house, and then we have four additional buyers that we're working with in that same neighborhood currently.

Dean: I love it. That's awesome.

Jason: And so one thing I've done on Facebook for the last probably seven or eight years is just anytime we have a new listing, even when we were working for the builder stuff, because it's just like we're the only people in the world that get to market this. We're crazy not to go spend a ton of money and get buyers to give their info so we can follow up with them. And it just got more refined, refined, and better at. You know, variation over variation over variation. And just continuing to test, to see how low we can get the lead cost, and just how effective we can be with it. That's just been an interesting journey, just to see that side of it. And like you said, everybody's on social, anybody who's looking for stuff. And just with the ability of the targeting that you can do on there, and then the re-marketing aspect of it. I mean, there are just so many positives there. And again, compared to any sort of traditional marketing, it just blows it away in terms of the reach and conversion, and just kind of the activity you get from it.

Dean: Yeah. Like, right now, I'm just so giddy and bullish on the future, here. Because it's like the beginning of, you know, circa 2003 and '4 when Google AdWords was just starting out, and nobody really knew about it. Or they started to hear about it. But we, with our money making websites, we built this. You know? It was a huge win because you could get basically unlimited traffic and great conversions. Everything was inexpensive. And then of course now, it's much more expensive to do Google AdWords, right? And I think that we're in a situation right now, where these are the good old days of Facebook right now. And it's coming that everybody's going to figure that out. And the price is going to go up. And the opportunity's going to sort of get limited. You know? But for now, it's like, "Make hay while the sun is shining," right?

Jason: Absolutely.

Dean: And this is like, you're going to wish for the good old days when you could spend $250 on a new listing campaign and get 87 leads, when now it's going to cost $2500. That's really the thing. And the reality is, that, right now, just like you said, offline things and the other things are already more expensive. So this is just like fantasy land that we're living in here, with Facebook. You know? It's as good as anybody says it is, and even better. I mean, it's just crazy.

Jason: It's so funny because you break it down, and it's more targeted, you track it, it's instant, and it's cheaper.

Dean: Yes. I mean, God bless America. Right. That's what I say. Now, are you doing anything in the neighborhoods? Like, are you using the Infobox fliers and the Instant Open House and Just Listed cards? Doing any of that?

Jason: We're hit and miss on the flier boxes. I'd say 35% of the time, we get them out and usually get a handful of leads from it. And a lot of times, in a perfect world, we'd have that 100% of the time. The Just Listed cards, we do those. We do 100, basically, everybody in the neighborhood, we do about 100, is what we said, just 100 immediate addresses around there as well.

Dean: Yeah. That's great. And then do you do a neighbor open house? Or do you do anything like that? Like a preview open house? Or do you steer all of your lead generation towards an open showing?

Jason: Yeah, that's specifically our goal. In a perfect world, we would be part of the Coming Soon campaign, the Thursday or Friday, the week before the open house. So that way, we could run Coming Soon, Flierbox mailer to all the neighbors. Everybody who responds, "Hey, I'm actually meeting some folks over there the day it goes on the market, next Saturday at 10 a.m. would you be able to join us?" So we're doing exactly that program. And usually, we get three to five people there. And at that point, the market does its thing.

Dean: Yes. That's all you need to do. Whenever three or four buyers are gathered in one place at the same house, same time, FOMO kicks in.

Jason: And it's just amazing that the neighbors called the agent and, "Hey, what was going over there?" So it's taken me a while to implement. But I'm just like everybody else where, "Oh, maybe if I try it like this." But it's like, "Dean's already solved all these problems. I don't really need to recreate anything here. I'm going to do it to the letter, and just do it." What I need to build for me is, "Where can I click one button, and this happens?"

Dean: Yes, that's exactly it. That's what we're trying to do with the easy button. Right? To make it so that people can click one button, and this all happens. And preferably, we want to get it to where its voice commands, you know? You can say to somebody, you could use a voice command of, "Send my new listing over here."

One of the things that is a pretty unique opportunity, talking about listing multipliers. So you're doing all the baseline things, which I love. So that'll give us a chance, maybe we can talk out some of the more advanced things, or something that I'm thinking about, where to go with this. Like, one of the things that we're going to do as soon as I think it might even be happening this weekend, with Diane's new listing is, one of the opportunities that we have is tapping into the seller's network. And do you have, or do anything, where you are encouraging the seller to post a video, or to post something about their Instant Open House page, on their Facebook?

Jason: We do.

Dean: Okay. So yeah, tell me what happens with that, or what you're doing.

Jason: Sure. At the listing presentation, agents have done, with a client, "Hey, here's what we're going to do. We're going to build you your own custom website. We're going to run Facebook ads for you." One thing we found, and the person who's most likely to buy your house is someone in a similar situation to you, someone who's probably connected to you through the social network. So what we're going to do is, we'll post the ad. And then when we post it on one of our Facebook pages, we're going to send that you. And the best thing you can do is share it and put a little bit of copy about, "Hey, we're so sorry to leave this neighborhood. We love this house. If anybody moves, all the pictures are here below. Or feel free to reach out to Renae, our real estate agent, who's handling this listing for us.

Dean: Yes. Perfect. So that's very similar. So you're having them share whatever you've prepared for them. One of the things we're going to experiment with is doing a video with the seller. Just a quick one. Like, for him to be the one that announces that the house is for sale. Like, to post it on the thing and say, you know, "Hey, everybody. Just want y'all to know we're selling our house. And our realtor has set up a special webpage just for our house at 22Graystone.com. So check it out. If you know anybody who's thinking about buying, please pass it on them." Just that short of a short thing from the seller on their Facebook page to their friends is a big thing. You know?

Jason: Absolutely.

Dean: Because it's their voice, you know? Well, we're going to track all of that, and I'll share what's happening. But I haven't seen anybody do that yet. So I'm going to talk about it at our academy in February too. Are you coming down for that, by the way?

Jason: I've got a 13-week-old baby at the house right now. So that's made travel a little tough. I would love to be there. Wish I could make it. But realistically, it's going to be a little bit of a long shot.

Dean: I gotcha. No, no. New babies are a full time position right there.

Jason: Oh yeah.

Dean: I love it. And then, because part of the thing that we look for, right? Like, when we look at the opportunities that we have to raise that listing multiplier, you know, you're going to get the listing sold, find the buyer, find a buyer that buys another house. All of those things that you can do, that's where the 2.3 and the 1.7 are coming from, often, those surface things, the things that you're already doing to find the spin-off buyers. But then getting another listing the neighborhood, and getting a referral from the seller, those require a little bit specialized approach. You know?

And so one of the things that I'm envisioning for this is a sort of calling it a seller strategy session, where you're kind of coming over once all the marketing is prepared, like the Infobox fliers and the Instant Open House, all of that stuff to get back with the seller with an intention of figuring out the best ways that we can get them involved in spreading the word as well. And certainly, the Facebook video on their wall is one of those things. Then printing out the Google aerial view of the immediate neighborhood around their house, like the satellite view so you can see the houses kind of thing? And having the sellers point out to you any of the neighbors that they know personally. Like, "That's John and Nancy. And that's Kim and Paul. We don't know those ones." Or, "I don't know those." But any of the handful of neighbors that they have an immediate relationship with, to send either a Facebook message to them, or a note, like a letter or a note from the seller, with the details about their house, to let them kind of be insiders as well. You know?

Jason: Gotcha.

Dean: And we talk about it. Notice how there's a great thing that really supports this is that in the NAR pie chart of where buyers come from, or how homes are sold, there's a sliver of the pie, piece of the pie, called direct or indirect referrals. And it's usually 18% of the procuring reason why somebody buys a house. So we're able to say to people that, "All of these things, we're going to get you that 80% of the stuff. But this 18% is what's called indirect, or indirect referrals, meaning someone who knows someone who knows someone. And so that's going to happen organically. But there's a lot of ways that we can actually amplify that and encourage it and make it happen. And part of that is going to be your neighbors who maybe have somebody who comes to visit them that have just had their eye on your house, specifically. We've had that happen. Or has anybody you know, "Let me know when anything comes up for sale in here. We'd really love to be in here." That happens a lot, right?

Jason: Absolutely.

Dean: Yeah, so to be able to have this kind of a conversation with them and say that, also, the people, your Facebook friends, right? The people who are local, who you know, for that, will going to put on your Facebook wall and share that, we give them a JPEG of the Infobox flier, like a picture version of it, that they can keep on their phone, so that if they're out and about we have the whole conversation with them about the reticular activator, and that part of your brain that when you do something, you notice other people are just like it. Like, the day you get your new red car, you notice everybody else got a new red car today, right? Or pregnant. You know, just like you went through this. Pregnant women notice other pregnant women, right?

Jason: Yeah, absolutely.

Dean: And now that you're going to be selling your house, you're going to notice that everybody's talking about real estate. You know, keep this on your phone, and when you hear someone talk about it, tell them about your house, and here's the thing so that they can pass it on. And so we do all those little things that are strategically helping to bump that number up, you know? Because to get beyond three as a listing multiplier index, you've really gotta be firing on all those cylinders, you know?

Jason: Certainly. That makes perfect sense.

Dean: Yeah. But that's all very exciting. So that's good. But are they receptive to it, your agents?

Jason: Oh, absolutely.

Dean: Yeah, they love that kind of thing.

Jason: No, for sure. I mean, they are so good at, once they're down in front of the client, breaking everything down, going through it, no hesitation or resistance to the "coming soon" stuff. They are fantastic in the day to day practice of the real estate. All the stuff I'm terrible at. But they're fantastic at it.

Dean: I love it. I'm curious about the story of how you are in Nashville and the team's in South Carolina, or North Carolina?

Jason: Eastern North Carolina.

Dean: North Carolina, yeah.

Jason: North Carolina, yeah. In between Wilmington, North Carolina and Jacksonville, North Carolina. So I had been in that part of the world doing real estate for about 10 years. And I met my future wife at the time. And she's originally from Tennessee. I'm originally from Tennessee. I knew that that was probably the next step, that we'd move home, start a family, and be a little bit closer to relatives and that kind of stuff. Hated to leave the beach, but we knew it was coming. And we'd done a ton of marketing for the agents on the team. And I just said, "Listen, I can probably do this from anywhere." The last six months I was in North Carolina, I never did a face to face meeting for business.

Dean: Right. Test driving it.

Jason: I just wanted to see if I could pull it off.

Dean: Yeah, yeah.

Jason: Yeah, exactly. And so after six months, I went to the agents, and I gave them a couple of months heads up and said, "Listen, I'm moving to Tennessee. I can run all the marketing for you, and you can get me on the phone anytime you need me. And let's try this out." And they're happy as can be. Because, again, they're walking into listing appointments where everybody thinks they're a celebrity because of the marketing stuff we do. And so they're happy as can be about it. And I have just run it from Nashville for the past 18 months. And it's worked really, really well, knock on wood.

And so we do a call on Monday. "What sellers are you working with? What buyers are you working with? Fantastic. Any buyers are looking in this neighborhood? Hey, great. We have 13 people who requested the report. Why don't you shoot all them an email, say we have a buyer." Exactly to the letter of what you say to do.

Dean: That's awesome.

Jason: So that's been awesome. And it's so funny because, shocker, Dean was right. But it's exactly what you said. The first email, you might not get a response. Email three weeks later, I've got another buyer. And on that third or fourth week, they kind of respond with, "We might be open to it," just to see if you're for real. And then say, "Great. Perfect. We're showing these other two houses that are on your street. We'd be happy to share yours if you guys are serious about selling." And just start that conversation. And then, that person who's gotten, for us, three or four months’ worth of market reports stacked up, when they do make that decision to sell, it's a no-brainer. "We gotta call Renae. She's always got buyers in this neighborhood." So that's been fantastic.

You know what I mean? For the most part, all I'm doing is running all their marketing, and I guess probably a couple of phone calls to each agent. I mean, I'll say a day, but it's really probably not more than one or two a day, just to check in on them. And I've been really, really lucky with the agents, just because everything I've ever seen in real estate is that the attitude matters more than anything else. And I just have two people that have it. I love calling them because they're always friendly. They always have a great attitude. "What are we doing next?" And just even if it's something bad, it's like, "All right, let's just work through this." And I’ve been really, really blessed on that side of it. So essentially, I'm doing the Ghost Realtor Program.

Dean: I was just going to say. That's what I was just going to say, is that is the whole Ghost Realtor Program. It's amazing.

Jason: I mean, I know the numbers are different in every market. But my agent who's been with me for four years wheeled in 19-and-a-half million last year.

Dean: Wow. That's so great.

Jason: I mean, it's crazy. She sold 86.5. I mean, and we went from zero to that. She had never done real estate before, and just worked on a game plan and just have worked this entire system the entire time. And so the biggest thing, I just feel like in terms of doing this, you've laid the road map for this. And the stuff on getting that last 20% on the look, that makes perfect sense. What I'm kind of curious is, and the game plan a little bit is, what's the next step? Is it add another agent in that market? Is it take another market? And I'm curious, from the ghost realtor side of it, how would you structure that? Is it referral fee based? Is it start a team, and we'll just split commission? Is it you pay me a fee and I'll do all this stuff for you?

Dean: What's your arrangement now? How does it work for you now?

Jason: Right now, we just split everything 50-50. They don't pay for anything. I cover all costs, and then we just split commissions 50-50. We're under Coldwell Banker franchise over there. After Coldwell Banker takes their split, which is right down the middle whatever their commission is.

Dean: That's great. And that seems like that, for what you're talking about, that's a great thing. Where you may want to experiment with that is, together maybe with your top realtor once, is together you may want to experiment with a showing agent, where you're paying them a salary per hour rate. And so the experiments that we've done this, like where people are going from 50-50. You had one guy who, real experimental, like what you were talking about, was generating all the leads. This was with his moneymaker website. He was generating all the leads. And he would refer them out to people and take a 25% referral, without doing any of the follow-up kind of thing. And that was working okay, but he was only getting 25%. And a lot of times, what he found was that unless they were ready to buy right now, people were not following up with people.

So he thought, "Okay, I'm going to take on the follow-up. I'll do the follow-up stuff. And then I'll have a buyer agent. And I'll go 50-50 with them." And now he's getting 50%, and they're getting 50%. And then we started experimenting with a showing agent. And he was in a Keller-Williams office. So there were plenty of people to choose from. But he'd go all the way to setting up the appointment, and then having a showing agent work with the people as they're ready and looking to buy a home. So he would pay them $50 to show homes for two hours. You know, like a showing appointment kind of thing. And he ended up doing it that way. He'd pay them on Friday for all the homes that they showed that week. So they're getting paid right away. And he had put out like $1800 before he got his first closing, which was $10,000. But it ended up that his cost of buyer transactions dropped down to 5%. And that was, now, such a win because he was not doing any split with them, anything other than they would just show the homes and get paid.

We did a hybrid of that with Julie Matthews here, doing a showing agent to go out and show the homes. And then when they found the one that they like, Julie and Cindy would pick it up and do the offer and take it through the close of the transaction, do all that stuff. And it's just the lowest cost, you know, you get the maximum money on the buyer side. That makes sense, right? Because there's lots of people who would love to show homes. So that might be one way that I would experiment. But I'd also look at maximizing all the other things that are doing. So each of your agents, their top 150, have you measured their return on relationship for referrals?

Jason: We have not measured it. But we have the postcards going out. We've been doing that since August. So I guess we've done six or seven of them.

Dean: Okay. Do you have any anecdotal reports on that yet?

Jason: It's funny because I always give the example of, here's someone you'd stop in the grocery store and say hi to. And both of them said, "I got stopped in the grocery store by someone who told me they got the postcard."

Dean: Right. Exactly. That's how it happens. Yeah, exactly.

Jason: So it's kind of backwards. But I'm like, "Oh, that makes sense." But I'm like, "Oh, that's amazing. That works." But I don't have anything anecdotally of, they got the postcard calls, or anything like that. I mean, traveling happens. But we just don't have the true tracking in place to really, really know that.

Dean: And there's the thing, that's what I always have to point out to people, that when you're sending the world's most interesting postcard, when you're sending those to people, what I always have people do, first off, is establish what was their return on relationship for the previous 12 months? Before we started mailing it, right? So you get a baseline. And you say, "Whatever you're doing right now." Like, if your agent is a local, and they've been in business for a long time, and they do a lot of transactions, and they're popular, they're going to get some amount of repeat and referral business as it is, without really doing anything.

So we want to establish what that baseline is for people. And then what we find is, after mailing the world's most interesting postcard, that that number, your return on relationship number, goes up. And it's never, or very rarely, as overt as, "I got your postcard. And you asked about first time buyers. And I'd like that book to give to somebody who's a first time buyer." But what it is is that all of the referrals just go up because we're programming people to notice conversations about real estate, to think about you, and to introduce you to the people that they had the conversation with. So it happens more.

Jason: And that makes perfect sense of them, to measure previous versus what happens after 12 months. That makes perfect sense.

Dean: Yeah. Because it's one of those things where it happens in the background. You know? It happens, and sometimes it happens overtly. Like, Diane, again, we've been sending everything since August, doing the same thing. So I think that was the Getting Listings. I think the first ones that we sent out for her, for the world's most interesting postcard, were October, maybe. But she got a listing in Frostproof from a neighbor of one of the people who are on her list. But it didn't have anything to do with the postcard message itself. It was that she got the postcard, but also that she referred her neighbor. So yeah, it's just one of those things that you set and forget, and know that it's amplifying things, you know?

Jason: Makes perfect sense.

Dean: Yeah. Now, one thing that I would love to see, that would really be great thing, is to start looking for the buyers that are going to buy the homes in these 21 neighborhoods that you're doing, prior to having listings in there. You know? Like, looking for, are there any specific categories, we call them, of a buyer that you could start finding homes for, you know?

Jason: So the two, each agent, we've kind of dictated they have a specific area. We picked the 10 best neighborhoods in that area. Those areas are not that large. It's maybe 5,000-10,000 homes. So one of them specifically is Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. If someone's looking in Sneads Ferry, they're going to look at the 11 neighborhoods we have there. And so what we've done is just a neighborhood guide to Sneads Ferry homes prices.

Dean: That's great. That's all we're looking for. Right.

Jason: And then we actually went a little bit further. Because, I mean, I listened to the Gary Vee stuff, and document, and video, video, video. So we had a really professional like, I hired a guy to do our marketing. And he had a drone and good video equipment. So we did a two minute video in front of every neighborhood with the agent. "Hi, this is Renae with Coldwell Banker. This is Mimosa Bay. Price ranges are this. These are the amenities. Those are my digits." And stuff like that. So that's been great. And we kind of use that as the very, very, very top of the funnel. And on Facebook, so we'll run that, and it's so cheap to get 1000 video views on Facebook. Because it's just so easy to pick the targeting of the age, and then their interest in Realtor.com or Zillow, and then show them that video. And then anybody who watches 30 seconds of the video, show that person an ad for The Guide to Sneads Ferry Neighborhood Home Prices.

And then the same thing anytime we do a Just Listed, we use that more targeted audience. And the effectiveness of someone who's interested enough to watch a 30 second video about a neighborhood, then download a report. Then they see a home for sale in there by that time. I mean, the quality of the lead just goes up at the same time as the cost is going down. That's just been really effective for us.

Dean: One of the things that might be really helpful there for you is to use the same targeted audience, like the narrowed down exclusion groups that you've got, and whereas with getting listings, you're mailing two people, or you're showing the ad to people who live there, right? That's the selection that you've made. Well, another great selection, especially in an area like North Carolina, where people are coming from a distance, even. You can show ads to people who pass in through Sneads Ferry, that are visiting from, but don't live there. And you can show that ad right to those people. I would love to experiment with somebody, and we're going to do this in Lake Ashton too, is doing the daily tour of homes ads to people who are in from out of town, people who are visiting, so that anybody who comes into, what did you call it? Sneads Ferry Landing?

Jason: Sneads Ferry, yeah.

Dean: Yeah, Sneads Ferry. So if you are showing the ad only to people who are in Sneads Ferry but don't live there, and they see a video ad offering a daily tour of homes at 10:00 and 1:00, leading them to the tour of homes landing page that we have in GoGo. That would be a nice experiment, you know?

Jason: Absolutely.

Dean: Yeah. All very exciting. I mean, you're doing all the right moves. This is fantastic. I can't wait to see the longevity of this because we look at it, you're, like you said, five months into it now. And you're ahead of what Tony Kalsey was because it was five months before he got the first listing. But then you look at that infographic, and he ended up, now it's been 14 or 16 people who responded in that first five months, went on to list and sell their house with him. So that's the asset you have. It's all the people who have responded so far. How many leads have you generated? Do you know? Have a sense?

Jason: 189.

Dean: So you got 189 leads. And if we just take Tony's numbers to establish a baseline, eight-and-a-half percent.

Jason: So it's 17.

Dean: 17 times, how much is the average listing side commission?

Jason: $9000 gross?

Dean: So 17 times nine is, that's pretty close to 180, or 150. Something. I mean, it's a lot. Especially when you add and multiply that by 2.3, or hopefully get that to 3.3 because your listing multiplier is up. I mean, that feels good when you're thinking you know, if you knew that that portfolio was worth that amount of money, you would treat it well, right?

Jason: Absolutely.

Dean: Yeah. I'm super excited. This is going to be great to see, Jason. I can't wait to see it all play out.

Jason: So now, we're fired up about it. The agents are happy about it. And I mean, it's just nuts and bolts system, and just having the discipline, and, more than discipline, the systems to make it easy and repeatable have just been the biggest game changers in terms of actually implementing it. I did have one more quick question, if you had the time, though.

Dean: Sure. Yeah, of course. Yeah, yeah.

Jason: So previous to doing all of this, we did a lot of work with production home builders who build spec homes and then but built one of their plans that's not truly a custom home. But, I mean, they're essentially what a national home builder does, but on a smaller scale. And as I mentioned, as the market got better, they all brought in-house sales people and went in that direction. But I've got a great relationship with a handful of those builders. And I know at some point, the market's going to slow. And they're going to transition back into using traditional brokerage, and someone who has a great marketing presence, and they trust that can basically provide the same on-site experience they were getting before, will be first in line to get those deals. What do you think?  And I know that I can't convince them, when they're as an on-site person, to switch today because that's the equivalent of trying to turn a one-star prospect into a five-start prospect, which is a fool's game.

Dean: Yeah.

Jason: What do you think is the most valuable thing I could do for one of those home builders, to be at the front of the line when it changes? I mean, one thing we've done is, I try to send a monthly market report. "Here's every new home that's sold in this area where you're building. By the way," And then I do a super signature.” Here's three ways that I can help you. If you ever have a piece of troubled inventory that you need a marketing push on, if you ever want a third party analysis of are you priced right, and do I have the right features in the home, and then are you looking for lot? We may have asked every landowner in the area. We have relationships with all the land developers. Blah, blah, blah. Whenever you're ready, we're here for you to take the next step." I just don't know if there's anything more I can do. Because, I mean, again, landing a listing, and multiplying it time three times three is fantastic. But when you're in this neighborhood with 100 homes in it…

Dean: One of the things that I might do is, because you're right, that all of the builders. The realtors are going in there trying to get something from them. Let them give them a listing, or give them a chance to show what they can do kind of thing. But nobody's going in trying to help the builder get something that they're not already getting. And what I mean by that is if you were to go in and show them a magic trick, like the nine-word email, for instance. You go in and show them all the people that have come through the model homes 90 days or more ago, to send them an email and say, "Hey Jason, are you still looking for a home?" Whatever the town is, that's going to help them re-engage.

They're probably, those new home sales teams, they're not that, in my experience, interested in follow-up with people. They're basically sitting there, people come in, and they take orders for the homes. And it's the developer, builder's problem, to fill the models. You know? Or fill the sales center. But the sales people they don't look at it as continuing to follow-up with people. So that's one thing, if you can kind of show them, that give them that idea of an amazing nine word email that revives dead leads, to show them something that they can do that would be helpful for them.

But the other thing that you could possibly do, and I did this in Toronto, was help them get paid on people who don't buy new homes. Nobody's offering to take the people who are coming there, but they end up buying a resale home. The new home, the builder reps, are not taking people out and showing them used or pre-built homes. So that could be an interesting thing, where if you offered them a referral type situation where you could take all of their... Because you've got the guide to the house prices, as a lead thing that you could do for giving them a, you know, for the people who are buying pre-owned homes, you know? That might be an interesting approach for them, to align on that way, to do something that they're not already doing, which is following up with the dead leads, and helping convert the ones who are not necessarily looking to build a new house.

Jason: Yeah, that's a great idea.

Dean: And that's another thing that you might do, just from a standpoint of that, is do these micro-targeting around the model centers. Like, get it down to that level. And do the, everybody that passes through that area, target those people. Do you understand?

Jason: That sounds smart. Totally understand.

Dean: Yeah, yeah. Right, so that's a little, yeah. That's what would count as an evil scheme, as we say.

I have to preface it with people. Whenever you say "evil scheme" you have to imagine your Dr. Evil pinky to your lip evil scheme. So then, "Evil scheme." That's what we're talking about. We're not trying to, I mean, totally ethical things. That's what we're talking about. Evil, just in their delightfulness, that nobody else has thought of them.

Jason: Certainly.

Dean: Yes. So those are some good ideas. I'm excited. This was great, Jason. I appreciate you being willing to share everything. I'm super excited that you're on board here, and you're doing all the right moves. It's just a matter of time now.

Jason: No, absolutely. The biggest thing for me is just, you know, we feel confident in the listings program. We know that they're going to come in. And it's just tweaking what we do to get that listing multiplier up. And then for me, it's probably one or two more areas, one or two more agents in that specific market with that team. And then figure out, because, I mean, obviously, I'm in Nashville, one of the best real estate markets in the country. And I just need to figure out if I want to, or how I'm going to, partner with someone here to implement similar marketing, and just, I mean, I'm not inventing anything new. It's just recreating a system that has a track record of success.

Dean: Yeah. So great.

Jason: Yeah, it's exciting.

Dean: Yeah. Well, I'm happy to have talked to you. So I'm really looking forward to continuing the conversation because it'll be nice to see your one-year infographic. You know? Your ROI infographic on all of this. Feel like we got a new chart started here.

Jason: Definitely. I'm excited about it. What are the dates of the Orlando Mastermind?

Dean: February 22nd and 23rd.

Jason: 22nd and 23rd. I'm going to look at again and see if I can find my way into that.

Dean: Okay. Perfect. That would be awesome. That's when we'll go deep on all these things. So you'll love it. You'll get to meet a lot of these guys who have been doing it for a while.

Jason: Certainly.

Dean: Awesome. Well, we've said it all.

Jason: That's perfect. I truly appreciate the time, Dean.

Dean: Thanks, Jason.

Jason: You too.

Dean: I will talk to you soon. Bye.

Jason: Sounds good. Bye.

Dean: Well, there we have it. Wow, I mean, that was very inspiring, is the right word for it, I think. If you have been listening in, we've been doing these podcasts now over a year. So it's a possibility that you've been listening in. You've been hearing people talk about some of the things that we're talking about. But you haven't taken action yet, or haven't done anything. I'm going to say this might be a great time for you to do something, here. And we're completely ready to help you. What I recommend, is that you start with listingagentscore.com. Go there. Try out our Listing Agent Lifestyle Scorecard, and see where the big opportunities are for you. Gives you a really good chance to see how you're doing with the eight elements of the listing agent lifestyle.

And then all of the things that we're talking about here, all of the ads, the Getting Listing Program, the postcards, the follow-up newsletters, the Facebook ads, the buyer programs, all of that stuff is at GoGoAgent.com. And you can come on in, check it out, it's a free 30 day trial. You got no credit card required. You can come on in, see everything, check out our forum, check out the members' area, see what we're all about. And we'd love to help you get started launching your Getting Listings program, or launching your world's most interesting postcard to increase the number of referrals that you get from the people who already know you and like you.

So many things, and you'll be around a community of people like Jason who are doing all of the things that we talk about. So I'd love to see you over there. GoGoAgent.com. And in the meantime, if you'd like to continue the conversation here, you can go ListingAgentLifestyle.com. You can download a copy of the Listing Agent Lifestyle book. And if you'd like to be a guest on the show, just click on the Be a Guest link. And we can get together and brainstorm for your business. So that's it for this week. Have a great week. I will talk to you next time.