Chris Linsell TheClose.com

What Resolutions Should Real Estate Agents Make For 2021? • Close-ing Time • Chris Linsell

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Welcome to our monthly feature, Close-ing Time – in partnership with TheClose.com.

In this episode Chris Linsell from TheClose.com talks about the importance of making resolutions for the next year so that 2021 is your best year ever! Chris emphasizes little decisions you can make that will have a big impact on your business. Chris also talks about the cost of closing a deal and explain how to calculate it for clients. Last, Chris discusses best practices should any listener be thinking about switching teas or brokerages.

If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!

Chris Linsell can be reached at chris@theclose.com.


D.J. Paris 0:00
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Welcome to keeping it real, the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris. I am your guide and host through the show and today is our monthly series called closing time with Chris Lynn sell from the closed.com. This is a partnership between keeping it real and the clothes.com. But let me tell you about the clothes if you’re new to our show. Now the clothes.com is the kind of real estate website designed to give agents teams and brokerages actionable strategic insight from industry professionals. They cover real estate marketing, lead gen technology and team building strategies from the perspective of working agents and brokers who want to take their business to the next level, please visit the closed.com That’s th e c l o s e.com And subscribe to their newsletter so you can get notified every time they publish an article. Now with us as always as crystal and Sal. He is a staff writer and real estate coach for the close. Chris is the closest resident expert on real estate topics ranging from marketing lead gen transactional best practices and everything in between. He’s also a licensed agent in the state of Michigan. And Chris has been part of hundreds of real estate transactions from Mark modest rural starter homes to massive waterside compounds. When he isn’t writing, you’ll find Chris fly fishing or performing on the stage of his community theaters production. Although I guess probably doing that virtually right now. But as always, Chris, welcome once again to keeping it real excited as always to have you glad you we were talking earlier. Glad you had a good Thanksgiving.

Chris Linsell 2:14
Yeah, DJ, great to talk to you again. Really great to be here. I have managed to claw my way out of my Thanksgiving dinner coma just in time to be able to talk shop with you so excited to be here.

D.J. Paris 2:27
Just this morning before I went to work, I took an inventory of my leftovers. And I have I kept a tally from Thanksgiving not including thanksgiving to how many times I had eaten leftovers from from from that Friday, until yesterday, which was Tuesday. And it was seven times. And I said I actually said I have to get rid of these leftovers now because now I have in Turkey is my favorite holiday and I had to I was like I I don’t know what I’m gonna do with all these leftovers because I can’t eat them anymore.

Chris Linsell 3:03
Yeah, there’s really no other meal. If you think about it, like you would not go back to the leftovers from Taco Night. Slyke seven times. You know, like Thanksgiving is singular when it comes to this sort of thing. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying we should call call it what it is. It’s not a single meal. Thanksgiving is a celebration over the course of many meals.

D.J. Paris 3:24
Yeah, yeah, I even made. This has nothing to do with real estate. So I’ll wrap it up here. But I have to say I even made turkey soup. I thought, okay, how can I extend the life of this turkey, because otherwise, I’m going to have to throw it away. And I just don’t feel good about throwing away, like, you know, a good pound and a half left of Turkey. So I made I made turkey soup, and I’m freezing it and maybe I’ll be you know able to go back to it in a week or so. But tonight I tonight I might do tacos, like you were saying just to get me away from all the turkey.

Chris Linsell 3:57
Now you’re talking now You talk well anyway. But as we

D.J. Paris 4:01
you know we are in the holiday season. So of course Thanksgiving just happened. We have the December holidays, quickly approaching. And now, I have noticed in my business and you know this, but maybe our listeners and viewers might not is that I am not a Producing Realtor. But what I do all day is I sit at a desk, I’m a marketing guy, but I actually recruit agents. So this is the time of the year where I’m sorry, we’re actually let’s get to that later, I apologize. We were going to talk about something else, which is also something that comes up towards the end of the year, which is agents taking sort of stock of their business, the market tends to be a bit slower obviously right now with with some of the current challenges. You know, the world is facing Of course, real estate is a bit slower at the moment as well. But this is the time where where things start to slow down and agents start to think about 2021 and what they could do to build their business and maybe do things a little differently or habits they want to cultivate that they could then roll into next year so that out when when things get get a bit better. They’re they’re poised to take advantage.

Chris Linsell 5:05
Yeah, yeah, you know, I, if you’ve been following me on LinkedIn and on Twitter, I have been in the for the last couple of days, in every year, every year, this time of the year, I get into what I call New Year’s resolutions mode. And, you know, personally, I’m a big New Year’s resolutions person, I do them in my own personal life, I do them for all sorts of things, I find them very fruitful. And as a real estate coach, there is a ton of value in making resolutions professionally as an as an agent, too. So I was thinking maybe we could chat a little bit about that today, talk about resolutions, talk about setting yourself up for success at the start of 2021. And maybe we can go into a little bit what you talked about earlier, at the end kind of tag, tagging a big a big potential resolution move, and not just little, you know, little practices that can help improve your business. So yeah, let’s let’s talk about Well,

D.J. Paris 6:07
I think too, you know, I remember going to a Brian Buffini conference many years ago, and at the time, and I don’t know if he’s if he’s evolved this, this idea. But at the time, he had said, Well, you know, a real estate agent needs to think of their business as a, he said, a three legged stool, and maybe that’s overly simplistic, but he said, each leg of the stool represents kind of, you know, what is going to keep that that business up. And the first was, was was marketing in the sense of finding clients, you know, how do I find clients, the second was customer service. And the third was, was the financial side of it, which was, you’re monitoring what you’re spending and what you’re earning. And so I would just wanted to bring this up, before we get too deep into resolutions is to think, as a real estate agent, obviously, all of our listeners and viewers and of course, Chris knows as well, that you wear so many different hats. And so when you’re thinking about resolution, you know, please try to think holistically like the entirety of my business, maybe there’s marketing resolutions I’m going to make maybe there’s customer service resolutions, maybe there’s, you know, health resolutions that would fuel the energy, you have to then build your business, you know, everything really kind of counts and matters. And we don’t want you to get overwhelmed by it by making tons and tons of promises to yourself for next year. But really to think beyond just even some of the challenges you might face like, oh, I don’t have enough clients, I’m just going to focus on marketing. Yeah, that’s one that’s one leg of the stool, but isn’t necessarily the full picture.

Chris Linsell 7:33
Yeah, completely, completely. And in fact, not to get too metaphor laden here. But I always talk about resolutions not as these big commitments. Because we all know how that usually goes, you can ask anybody who’s ever bought a Bowflex, the first week of January, those those sorts of investments in your future rarely work the way that you think that they will. So yeah, like, like I said, not to get too over, you know, laden and metaphors here. But I like to think about resolutions as small hinges that can swing big doors, Oh, I love that little decisions that you can make in your business that will have a big impact. And the reason they’re small is because it takes a small amount of effort to get started on these, it takes a small amount of effort to maintain your commitment to them. And it takes a relatively small amount of effort to measure your results. But if you can commit to that small amount of effort, you can have some big results. And if you’ve put together a handful of these little commitments, all of a sudden your business really transforms really in the span of less than a year. It’s pretty impressive.

D.J. Paris 8:46
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It’s a lot of times when we’re thinking of resolutions, we say, Okay, well, this year, I had, let’s say, five transactions, or 10 transactions next year, I want to do 50 transactions. And yeah, what a wonderful goal to set for yourself, however, then eventually, we have to work all the way backwards to what are those those those small, little disciplines? And again, is it even realistic to go from five to 50? Probably not. But, but But you know, if we start with those little small hinges, then we see what ends up happening. And there’s a compound effect a lot of times as well, that all of a sudden, second, third, and even fourth quarter, all of the fruits of that labor just start showing up.

Chris Linsell 9:27
Yeah, big time. So let me let me just throw out a couple of small hinges that can swing a big door and I’ll talk just just for a second about them. And if you want to go deeper, we can go deeper. So here’s a couple of ideas. One hinge is to set aside 15 minutes every working day to dedicate to improving your lead nurturing. Now, here’s what I mean by that. Like think about, think about the the leads that you get Does that come in to your business? Maybe these leads come from Zillow, maybe they come from Facebook ads, maybe they come from another lead generation space, maybe you’re prospecting and picking up the phone, we’re on the phones. Think about how many of those leads convert into clients immediately. Not Not very many of them very, very few like the single digit percentages, if we’re lucky, right, well convert into immediate clients. But those folks who have agreed to speak to you long enough, that they are not just some random stranger, they are now someone you have the start of a relationship with those folks who have made that decision to start that relationship with you. Because something you said offered them value, there was something in what you said to them, that said, hey, maybe that makes sense. For me. These are your future clients. If you are not spending time nurturing these people, you are missing out on opportunities, because if you forget to nurture, all you’re doing is making the next agents job easier, you have kick started that thought process in your client or, or what would be client’s mind, and you’re handing it over to somebody else for them to get paid on it. So here’s a small hedge, spend 15 minutes improving your nurturing of your clients, it might just be an email, it might be a couple of emails, it might be a couple of text messages, it might be a couple of phone calls, it might be working out a postcard campaign, if you can dedicate 15 minutes, that’s, that’s like literally, it’s less than an hour and a half every week, you are going to be starting putting in place that hinge that is going to really start to swing as the year goes on. So that’s a good one to get started on.

D.J. Paris 11:47
I love it and a couple other suggestions for lead nurturing, follow these find these people on social media. And you might you may even want to tell them you’re going to do that ahead of time so they’re not surprised or you know, when you when you do send them that email or phone call say oh, by the way, I I’m going to try to find you on social media and see if we can connect that way as well. Whether it’s LinkedIn, you know, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. And then just start monitoring. You know, noticing sort of what they’re posting about that gives you talking points for when you know down the road, you they eventually do need your services. So the the other thing I’ll always mention is you know, writing if you have their their their current home address, write them a personal note, this is something that that doesn’t get done much anymore. Now this time of the year people are going to start receiving holiday cards. But this is different. This is a personal note. A handwritten note boy that I don’t know that there’s it’s sort of sad that it’s you feel it’s as impressive as it is today but it is in print is very impressive to people when you take the extra two minutes to write them something so consider doing that as well.

Chris Linsell 12:53
Oh, huge. In fact, you kind of took the words right out of my mouth next hinge that I was gonna I was gonna mention is to get better with your thank you notes. I don’t know if you are a late night TV guy, but Jimmy Fallon’s thank you notes section on The Tonight Show extremely popular. And you know what he leads the section off by saying every Friday try to catch up on some of my office work. And that includes writing thank you notes to people who made an impact on me this week. Jimmy Fallon has actually done interviews about this, he actually does do this. It’s not a joke segment. This is where the segment started was because he dedicated time every Friday to write thank you notes to people who had a positive impact on him. And you know, he went from being granted talented guy with a lot going for him. But he went from being a relatively small name New York City comedian to the host of The Tonight Show in 10 years. And a lot of it had to do with his ability to shake their right hands at the right time to follow up with people at the right time. You’ll hear him talk about his rise in show business, he attributes a ton of it to his ability to thank the right person at the right time. So real estate agents should take this advice. In fact, I do this I try to do this regularly. And this is going to be something one of the hinges on my list this year. dedicate some time, pick a day, Friday is a great day to do this. Because often this will get it into the mailbox of somebody that the beginning of the following week. Write a thank you note to all of the people who positively affected you that week, whatever they did to make your day, your week, your business, whatever they did to create momentum in your week. Let them know and do it handwritten. Don’t send an email. Don’t don’t type it out and put it on company letterhead. Get a box of thank you notes that cost like 10 bucks. Write them out, get a book of stamps. Put it in the mail. It’s you can you can seriously do two of these In 10 minutes, and if you can dedicate time to this every single week, people are going to start to take notice.

D.J. Paris 15:08
And you can do this as well, with people that aren’t in your sphere of influence, if you have a positive experience at a local business, or with, you know, even somebody over the phone that you’re not visiting in person, especially right now, there’s not obviously, we’re not doing as many in person shopping as we were or just visiting. Or even if you have a good doctor’s appointment, or, you know, whatever, you know, this is always a time. I mean, you know, like, I just saw a doctor, my daughter, a doctor yesterday, or Monday rather, and she was the first time seeing her and she was so incredible. And I don’t really ever think about doctors being incredible or poor, I just sort of always have a similar experience, which they’re fine, they’re great, they’re competent. But this was a new doctor, and I was like, Oh, my gosh, she really went above and beyond. And you just reminded me, I should drop a note in the mail. And I know her office address. And just, if I was a practicing agent, I might at the bottom and say, Oh, by the way, you know, I’m also an agent. And if you ever need any help with anything, here’s my card, but I just wanted to let you know, you were incredible. And, and, and that would just, you know, people are always wanting validation for doing a good job.

Chris Linsell 16:20
Absolutely. And you know, let’s just, like be strategic about this. The people who are going to be in the biggest positions of influence, people who are going to see a lot of people, like doctors, like dentists, like lawyers, like politicians, like anybody whose job it is to be in front of people. These are, these are referral sources. These are the people who you want to be top of mind when real estate comes up. And so take the time, spend five minutes get top of mind with these people, I can tell you like, I have gotten consulting clients, just because of the thank you note, because I, I had a good interaction with somebody I remember very clearly, in fact, there was I was given a presentation of the National Association of Realtors Conference, somebody came up to me afterwards, we were talking about their business, I got their business card I one of my thank you notes that week was to them, thanking me thanking them for coming. And for sharing a little bit about what they were doing. Drop it in the mail, didn’t think anything of it. Literally four months later, I got a phone call saying which we didn’t get a chance to thank you for your for your nice note, we’d like to talk about some consulting, it happened that fast and that easily. And it that I mean, those are free leads. Those are those are leads that cost you five minutes you seen.

D.J. Paris 17:44
And and if you’re you know, if you’re going back to your sphere of influence, and you don’t have reasons to reach out, you know, make sure your your sphere, your database, your CRM has somebody’s a home buying or selling anniversary, which you can always send a card, you know, no one’s going to they’re not going to get that card from anyone else. Right. So that’s a reason, maybe their work anniversary, which if you’re friends with them on LinkedIn, if you’re connected that way, LinkedIn tells you when their work anniversary is, which is nice, they’re probably not getting a lot of notice notice notifications on that either or their own, you know, if they’re married their own anniversary, right? Those are those are good, good reasons to pull out a pen and write a personal note. And, of course, you have to have that information, which you know, you can work on as well as getting out into your database.

Chris Linsell 18:30
Yeah, huge is. And so then the last hinge that I want to mention here, and if you’ve got others, we can chat about those two. But the last hinge that I want to mention here is a really specific investigation of what it costs to get a closing. A lot of agents don’t know this, a lot of agents don’t have a clear understanding of what it costs like Brian Buffini was talking about to get from cold lead to closing table from cradle to grave when it comes to the real estate process. What does it cost to acquire a lead? What does it cost in terms of nurturing to get that lead to become a client and what does it cost to get them across the finish line? And we’re not just talking about financial, we’re talking about time, we’re talking about effort as well. Agents should have I mean, it should be as as boiled down, it should be boiled down to a sticky note sized piece of information. What does it cost time effort budget to get myself a closing? Here’s here’s the reason why we should be talking about this because you know what your typical commission is and you know what your split is and what your cap is and what your taxes are, you know what you end up with, as far as your net commission income after all is said and done. If that amount, if that what you’re ending up with, if you are, if you are grossly under spending, to get yourself to that, that final product there, you’ve got some room to invest in your marketing, you’ve got some room to increase where you know where your spend is and potentially scale your business. Because if you know what the cost of lead acquisition is, you can start to think to yourself, Okay, if I spent $20, now, we’re gonna get $65 back, what would happen if I spent $100? Now what would happen if I spent $1,000. Now, this is something that is, again, it is a small hinge, it’s a small investigation that will get you to that sticky note size number, but it can really change the way that your business operates. Because all of a sudden, you know, the rules of the game. Don’t let 2021 be a year where you don’t know the rules anymore. Get yourself educated on your own business.

D.J. Paris 21:00
Yeah, let’s let’s talk about like a little strategy to figure that number out just in some general. So here’s a couple of thoughts I have. So if you’re like, Okay, well, you know, how do I figure this out? Well, here’s a simple and probably, there’s much better ways to do it. But but a simple way would be, you know, calculate the entire amount of money, your real estate business, earned your personal business, you know, this year, and then calculate approximately the number of hours you work this year, you know, whether it was 40 hours a week or more, and then just do the math and divide it out. And then you have your hourly rate. So you have a general sense, and it might be a lot lower than you’d like like it to be, and you know, that’s fine. But But that’s where you are right now. So once you have that number, then as Chris was saying, let’s figure out from the you know, take a look at your at at A and let’s not look at the outlier transactions, the ones that took, you know, nine months to complete, and were a nightmare from, you know, a typical transaction that was relatively, you know, a reasonable amount of work that you felt good about, and figure out calculate how many hours you spent working on that client from start to close. Also, as Chris said, think about what additional costs Did you did you pay for that lead? You know, were there other costs in, in travel in, you know, marketing, and all sorts of things from the moment you had that client as a first interest all the way through the clothes, and just calculate the number of hours, the dollars you spend, and that’ll give you a general sense of what it costs and maybe do that for a few clients, you have a sense an average the number, and then you know, that, you know, the average cost per closing is x. And you know, and then what you can do is then figure out what percentage of your income you are spending on acquiring new clients. And maybe as Chris said, maybe you’re grossly under spending? Because and Chris, do you have? And I don’t have an answer for this. Do you have a general guideline for what percentage of someone’s real estate income they should invest back into their, into their business? Do you have any sort of general thoughts on that?

Chris Linsell 23:04
Yeah, I do. So this number kind of floats a little bit depending on where you’re at in your business. If you are early in your career, and you have a relatively low referral base to build from, what you invest in has got to be a little bit higher, because you have less of an opportunity to get, you know, repeat customers, you have less of an opportunity to get easy referral customers, because you’re just getting started, you’re just building that base. So at that stage, you have to spend a little bit more on advertising, you have to spend a little bit more on dedicated lead gen. You know, at that stage, I tell folks, if you’re spending if you’re spending less than 25% of your of your income of your of your available income. If you’re spending less than 25% on pulling business and reinvesting in your business, you’re probably under spending. Now if you are a more seasoned agent, you can get away with closer to 15% it really kind of depends on your specific approach to business because like as an example, real estate farming, it is a relatively time intensive approach. There’s a little bit less dollars involved, but you can if you’re dedicating the time you don’t have to spend as much of your budget whereas if you’re going all in on like Zillow premier agent for instance, you can easily spend 20 grand a month they’re sure gonna pick up a lot of leads but you’re gonna pay for every single one of them in a very specific kind of way. So kind of depends on how what your approaches to lead acquisition as well. So anywhere between 15 and 25% is usually a sweet spot for me if you’re spending over 25% You’re you you may not be getting the return you’re looking for less than four to one on your money. Is is A little bit challenging from a math wise and under 15%. You are, you’re really asking your dollars to do a lot in a time where maybe that they don’t produce quite like that maybe they have in the past, but right now, you know, you’re asking for more than like, like seven to one on your money. And that that I think is a little bit of a stretch right now.

D.J. Paris 25:21
Yeah. And also remember to when we’re talking about increasing your spend, possibly to to attract more clients. This is also time, you know, you want to calculate, it’s not necessarily always hard dollar costs, like purchasing leads, or buying ads on social media. This could also be, you know, developing, spending time to develop, you know, additional relationships in your community or volunteer efforts that you believe might help your business as well. So really all of that factors in so you might say, well, you know, I didn’t, I only close to several transactions last year, I really don’t have marketing, hard marketing dollars to spend, we understand that, but you can’t vote the time, which which does correlate, of course, to money, because your your time is valuable. So this is also another way to think about it, as you know, find some hard dollar ways to spend money if you have that option, and some soft dollar ways.

Chris Linsell 26:16
Yeah, 100% 100%, that’s a really important to remember, whenever I’m talking to coaching or consulting clients, I always make sure we start the conversation with the fact that your resources are what we’re talking about, when we’re when we’re talking about spend here, it’s not just dollars, you’re also talking about your time, and your energy. And if you have less budget, if you have less dollars to spend, you’ve got to make that up in the in the form of time and energy. And if you have less time, you make that up in forms of dollars, you know, like they all kind of these, these three systems kind of float, so they balance each other out. But there’s definitely a way in fact, I have worked with brand new agents who are bootstrapping their business, and they literally have $20 a week to market their real estate business, we have figured out strategies to get them across the finish line on 20 bucks a week and double and triple their business. So it’s definitely doable. Just got to figure out you know, where your resource rich, where your resource light, and adjust your strategy thereof.

D.J. Paris 27:21
That’s wonderful. And so I think now it’d be a great time to to shift gears and no, we don’t have a ton of time to focus on on this next topic. So what we what we what I’ll propose is if we find ourselves, you know, running running out of time, we’ll save some of it even for for our next one, because I think it’s it’s an apt conversation for now and next month. So Chris had suggested this, and it’s such a great idea was to talk about, you know, this is the time of year, not only are we evaluating, you know, our business, we might also be evaluating the firm that we work at and trying to figure out, do I want to stay with this firm another another year? Am I not getting what I need? Am I Am I happy? am I unhappy? Because this is the time of year that people have more time to start exploring, you know, maybe making a change.

Chris Linsell 28:09
Yep. Yeah. You know, the first Monday of the new year, is effectively affectionately known as moving day in a lot of industries, real estate in general, people are real estate, specifically, agents are, are looking at what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. And quite frankly, the support that they are getting from the team that they’re part of, they’re saying, is this worth it to me is this am I getting what I need here? Am I getting the financial deal I need? Am I getting the support? Do I need? Am I getting the resources that I need? And so you know, this conversation is happening right now. If you are a broker or a team leader, I bet you are starting to get into recruiting mode. Right about now because the I’m sure your phone starting to ring. I know that mine is as far as consulting calls for brokerages looking to do recruitment. So let’s talk a little bit about it. What what are the what are the things that agents should be thinking about right now, if they’re considering a move on the brokerage level? I’ve got a couple of ideas here, DJ, but I know that you work in this in the sector too. So I want to hear some of your insight on this as well.

D.J. Paris 29:20
Well, I yeah, I can start with a couple. So So for me, I’m a marketing I just full disclosure, I My job is to recruit realtors, I live, eat and breathe that I’ve been doing it for 10 years. We have two companies, just to give you some of my credentials to give you some sort of semblance of I know a little bit about this. We have two companies. We have a holding company for agents that aren’t actively producing and we have a company for agents that are all together. We have about 1200 agents total in both those companies. Over the years I’ve probably recruited oh gosh, about maybe, you know, I don’t know. Well, more, you know, 1400 agents total. So you know, people, there is some attrition, of course, yeah. So what I will tell you is and talking to agents about what they hear at other firms, and sometimes even agents who leave our firm for another firm, based on, you know, something that that they found more attractive is I think that the biggest thing that recruiters like myself, although I do not do this personally, but I do hear about it almost daily, is that there’s oftentimes a lot of lofty promises that firms may in fact offer with respect to lead generation is probably the biggest dangling carrot that that a firm can offer. Because of course, that sounds like a problems solver for an agent who is struggling, at least to, you know, agents leave firms for all sorts of different reasons. But the number one reason that I have seen is that agents feel that their business could be better or bigger, if they were to go to another firm. And so when they looking at other firms, firms know this, of course, and will might even suggest that, oh, yes, our lead generation, you know, platform that we offer to agencies is much better than what you’re used to, which may, in fact, of course, be true. And of course, it also may not be true, what I always recommend is not to take the recruiter, you know, their, their promises as gospel. Certainly, it could be absolutely as advertised, or, of course, it couldn’t. So, so what I what I always recommend, and what I tell agents who are interested in joining our firm, who asked me because this question comes up a lot, and I always think it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a reasonably good question, but I have a better answer that actually, then the question they’re ants asking, which is, hey, DJ, this all sounds great. Can I talked to a couple of your brokers who, who are actually on on, you know, part of the team and, and maybe get their experience, and I said, I’m happy to to provide you with names. However, you know, if you think about it, from my perspective, let’s just say I’m not super honorable. And I’m going to, you know, sort of stack the deck with agents who just think we’re the greatest thing in the world. Now, I wouldn’t actually do that. But a lot of places might. So what I would recommend is you have a great conversation with a recruiter at a firm, it sounds amazing, you’re like, This sounds like a great fit. My recommendation is go to that. Go to that firms website, look at their roster, most eight, most websites have a roster. If not, you could probably pull it up in your MLS access pretty easily, and call randomly three of those agents don’t tell the recruiter you’re going to do this because then of course, they could tip off those agents just call and say, Hey, I’m sorry to bother you. I was just thinking of joining your firm I was talking to so and so. Boy, it sounds really great over there. And I just wanted to make sure that I understood everything and and say, you know, I heard about Legion, whatever the promises are lead generation or, or different tools, you know, and talk to them. And I tell people who are looking at our firm to do the same thing. I’m like, we have 700 realtors, I’m like, I’m kind of rolling the dice here, but just call anybody. And hopefully they’ll tell you the truth. Because you know, of course you don’t know if that recruiter is is exaggerating or not.

Chris Linsell 33:12
Yep, yeah, you know, you’re you hit on two things that I coach agents on all the time, which is one, think about what think about if you’re applying for any other job. If you are applying for a job, you’re the person who’s hiring you is going to do a reference check on you. That’s what you’re doing as an agent, you are checking this recruiters references. This guy said, oh, yeah, we got all these great things. Any of our agents would tell you we do a great job. Well, you know, call him out on that. I love the idea that just the random cold call to an agent in the office, you know, put that put that to the test. But here’s the other thing I would encourage folks to think about too, and you hit on this a little bit. I got a little bit of a different turn of phrase, but I think we’re shooting at the same target here. It drives me crazy when recruiters talk about solutions, right? Because ultimately, and let’s just call a spade a spade here. Real estate brokerages very infrequently provide solutions, they usually provide system. The solution is in the hands of the agent, you I’m not going to depend on my brokerage to fill up my lead funnel because that’s not really their job. And if it is their job, I’m probably paying them way too much money for it. Right. What I want to know is what systems are in place to enable my success because I’m not coming here to be an employee for you. I’m not coming here to turn your success wheel. I’m coming here so that you can provide me with the grease to turn my own success wheel right so Rather than wanting to hear oh yeah, we give, we have a great lead generation system, we’re putting x number of leads into our, our Realtors, or our brokers buckets every day or every week. That’s great. But that is that’s unreliable. And honestly, it’s unrealistic. For the most part, what I want to hear from this recruiter is, we’ve got a system in place to allow you to control your own success. And we give you the tools so that if you want to be successful, there’s no limit to the amount of success you can have that sort of talk right there is the talk of somebody who understands scaling, who understands that my business, I want to be able to scale my business beyond the the leads, you put in my bucket every week, I want to be able to make my own leads. So give me a system that allows me to do that. That’s where the best agents in your market are working are, were places where they can control their own success. The other places where they’re just dropping leaves in your bucket every once in a while. I say this with all due respect, because there’s nothing wrong with earning a living like this. But those are the $35,000 a year agents who are waiting tables on the weekend.

D.J. Paris 36:15
Right? Yeah, I couldn’t agree more it is it is so important to and we do this from a recruiting perspective when it you know, it’s funny, it’s like, sometimes agents will say, Wow, you guys, no, this is not to toot my own horn, because I in no way think that I am anything special with respect to recruiting. But we’ve grown to to 700 brokers in 10 years. And and that’s not because I’m excellent at my job. I mean, maybe I do have the degree of proficiency. But but one of the things I say when I talk to agents, and it seems like something you would think every firm would say, and then agent agents will tell me, Well, nobody’s really said it in that exact way. And I always say the truth is at our firm, at least, that we work for our agents because we I do not go out and produce business myself. The only reason I have a job is because and I’ve never worked with a client. I’ve never ever worked with a client. And quite frankly, the idea scares me. And it’s not something that I feel is even something that that I would be good at doing. So there you know, thankfully, I’m not trying to do something I don’t think I’d be good at however, we do get we do get the question just, we always tell agents, please understand, you know, we need you to be happy. Because if you’re happy, you’ll probably stick around. And the only way you’re going to be happy is if we actually take care of you. Because at least here in Illinois, Illinois, what’s called a right to work state. So even if we had an agent signed some sort of iron clad agreement that they could not get out of which which we would never do. But in most firms wouldn’t either. But, but even if that we had that agents could still leave at any moment because of the way that Illinois employment law works. So the bottom line is you as the agent, you have all of the power here. You are the reason that these firms are in business. And so what I advise agents who are exploring is reach out to 10 different firms and get a sense of how they think about working with you directly. Are they are they excited to talk to you? Are they like honored that you called them out of all the other firms in your area that you you reached out to them, if they are not absolutely tickled and thrilled that you’re calling them to see what they have to offer? You know, I might consider maybe a different firm because you want somebody who’s like, wow, we are so glad you called Let me tell you how we help agents. And the other thing I’ll mention and not to steal all the thunder here, but I just deal with this all day long every day is an owl just a little behind the scenes peek of our brokerage. So we happen to pay out the highest commissions in the industry, which is very easy from a recruiting perspective to make it excited to make exciting to to the public, to agents to go oh, by the way, we pay out the highest commissions, that’s a very cool thing to be able to say. And it does in fact get people to come in just because people want it some people want to get paid higher commissions. However, after doing this for 10 years, I will tell you, there are other firms that have the exact same commission structures we do so we are not the only game in town who has this kind of commission structure. So why are people well why are they choosing us over other firms? Well, I don’t know maybe they liked me and I did a good presentation, whatever doesn’t matter, they join us. But if we do not deliver from a support perspective and a training perspective for meeting their specific needs, they are going to leave in a moment and not only will they leave they are going to then tell other people oh you know what don’t don’t work with DT Kol Realty which is the company TJ works at because they don’t they don’t really help you. Yes, they have the highest commissions, but they don’t have any training or support. Now thankfully, you know, we don’t get that feedback. But the point is support is really everything. You know And that supersedes Commission’s fees. Because if you can get the help you need when you need it, as Chris was saying systems do that, what is their system for support? What happens if it’s four o’clock on a Friday? And you have an emergency question that needs to get answered? Do they have a system in place to address that? You know, and of course, understanding that there are reasonable boundaries around support, but making sure that that those systems are in place, if they are, you’re probably going to be really, really happy. And if those systems aren’t in place, it’s really going to make your life more challenging, even for the most independent broker who really doesn’t need much help. When, especially for those brokers when they need help. They’re like, I need help. So making sure and again, you say I would say, Well, every firm is going to tell you, they have great support. So that’s a bit of a challenge to understand who actually does. And that goes back to the question of reaching out to some of those agents, you know, on your own and saying, Hey, I’m worried about support, because it may be at my current firm, that isn’t exactly what I’m receiving. How does it work there? Yeah, just a couple of suggestions.

Chris Linsell 41:03
You know, that’s, that’s awesome. And you and I have, I think, like a Vulcan mind meld happening, because that was gonna be, again, same sentiment, but a different turn of phrase here, you know, when I am when I’m talking to agents about their brokerage decision. And this happens relatively frequently for me, because I’ve got an article on the clothes about the best real estate companies to work for. So I get a lot of questions about this. I always tell agents who are trying to decide between brokerages, when you go in for an interview, ask for a tour. And don’t just ask for a tour of where you would be working, ask for a tour of the whole building. And what you’re really looking for here are what the people behind the scenes are doing. If it is just a bunch of agents with closed doors with no admin support with no marketing support with nobody walking around, offering help or offering tools, if there is if it is quiet as a tomb in there and it is by design. There’s that’s a red flag because you have you have all of this talk about oh, we support you, oh, we’re gonna provide you this. We’re going to prove to you that and there’s no proof in that pudding. What you want to see and I’ll be totally honest, do I have a really fantastic example was set for me. Back when I worked at a Coldwell Banker, excuse me a Coldwell Banker franchise spot largest franchise in the United States. We’ve really, really grown this place. Coldwell Banker, Schmitt, realtors, you walk into this office, and it is a hum of activity from about 7am to 7pm. And it’s not just agents running back and forth to the coffee machine. It’s the admin, it’s the marketing admin, it’s the graphic designer they have on staff, it’s the agent support person, it’s the HR person they have actually hired to deal with HR questions that happen within the company, it is this constant motion machine. That is a vibrant business. And you know, as a real estate agent, you are a small business owner, you are you are you have to think about your brokerage, as the incubator for your small business, if the incubator that you are working in is cold and lonely, nothing’s gonna grow there. If it is warm and vibrant and happening, that’s where eggs hatch, that’s where your business really starts to take flight. And so think about it, you know, ask for a tour. Trust your gut here. Does this feel like a place where business is happening? Or does this feel like a place where business is floundering?

D.J. Paris 43:48
Yeah, that’s a it’s a really, really good point. And for for those of you that are visiting firms that are smaller, that might not have the the number of of staff working there, where it’s maybe just a couple of people get a sense of those couple of people, yeah, if best you can, and maybe even ask, Hey, Could I could I introduce myself to the admin staff, as you know, as Chris was mentioning, during a physical tour of the property, and you can also do like a social tour and say, Okay, if I go introduce myself to so and so. And because the her support team, the recruiter likely is somebody that you might not talk to, again, once you’re on board, they’re going to be dynamic and exciting and charismatic, because that’s their job, because they’re kind of a salesperson. But what you what I would recommend is get to know that the admin people as well, because those are the ones that you might be interfacing with more often. And if you get the sense that wow, they seem like a pleasure to work with, then you’re probably going to have a better experience. Because you know, and I know even at our firm over the years, thankfully we haven’t had to make too many personnel changes, but we had a person who was an admin Many, many years ago, who sadly, you know, she was actually very good at her job. But but she turned a lot of people off based on, on, you know, some of the way she communicated. And so we had to make a change because our agents were starting to be affected. So, you know, it’s it’s one of those things where get to know the staff, because those are the ones that you’re going to spend the most time with

Chris Linsell 45:21
100% 100 sites, the reason I started at that Coldwell Banker was my first interaction with the admin when I came in for my interview, I was so impressed with what was happening. Like, this is the kind of person I want back in my business.

D.J. Paris 45:34
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, I always say, you know, if you get to go in, in right now, it’s tougher to do that, of course. So if you’re doing a virtual interview, you know, just call it just half and say, Hey, I don’t mean to bother your support person, but I’m really thinking of joining your firm. Can I speak to the admin just for a few minutes, I just want to get a sense of, of, you know, introduce myself. And if they say, No, we really don’t do that. Well, you know, then I would consider maybe looking elsewhere, if you do that. And by the way, in 10 years of, of recruiting agents, not one person has ever asked me to do that. Maybe one, I’ll say May I’m sure it’s happened once and I just forgetting, but that’s how uncommon it is. But it’s such a great idea. So I think this is a great place to wrap up, we can do a part two of this, because this is this is the lane that I drive in all day long. And Chris, of course, deals with a lot of this too, with with his consulting, and his and his own his own business. He’s always, I’m sure, you know, reevaluating, just like all of our agents in our company are too. So and I can even share in another interview. So are in another conversation about we do a lot of surveys, and we get back feedback anonymously on, you know, how are we doing? What do agents really care about, and, of course, some of these, there’s lots of studies that have been done, you know that that highlights some of this data. But anyway, I think it’s a great place to wrap up. And I want to thank, thank Chris Lynn cell from the closed.com. I want to remind everyone that closed.com is a free to use blog. It’s an amazing blog, specifically a website specifically to help real estate professionals grow their business, their articles are incredible. They’re never disappointing. They’re always lengthy, with tons of great content. In particular, the the article, Chris had will link to it about how to choose a firm, I think is a great example. And it’s an really good example of how in depth they get into into choosing firms. It’s awesome. But they also have a pro membership as well, with a, I believe a free trial. Chris, can you just speak for a moment about what the closed pro the closed closed.com Pro is?

Chris Linsell 47:38
Yeah, absolutely. Close Pro is, like I said, it’s our premium membership 95%. More like 99% of what you’re going to find on the close, closes absolutely free. You can give us your email, if you want to subscribe to our email list. But you know what 99% of what you find there, you can just come and read, we just want to better your business by giving you information to level up. If you want to go to the next level, we have the close Pro. It is you know, it’s not even it’s like less than $35 a month, you get access to incredible courses to paid one on one or small group coaching calls every single week, a huge resource library full of scripts and templates and checklists, long form guides if you read the stuff on the close, that’s all pretty detailed. While we go even further into detail on the close pro talking like 5060 Page ebooks on things like how to write a CMA how to start a real estate farming strategy, how to level up your email marketing that level stuff it like like DJ said, totally free two week trial. comm check it out, see what we got. It’s not gated, you know, you can get in there, you can really see everything that we’ve got on there. And if it’s if it’s valuable to you, you can subscribe, and there’s no annual obligation you can cancel at any time. I also wanted to just point out as well that we’ve got some kind of expanding editorial voices on the clothes. For the longest time it was myself and another really talented guy named Emile, who was in charge of content on the close. And we’ve got some other contributors that are started to put some content on the site including a guy named Sean Beaudry, who’s a Keller Williams, Rockstar, real estate trainer out of Colorado. We’ve got a Beverly Ruffner who is a longtime coach and really successful agent and a few other folks who are coming on board to provide us with some new perspectives, especially with different areas of the business. So though I’m sure most people are absolutely thrilled to see my name and a byline every, you know, twice a week. We’ve got some some some other voices and other perspectives that are also making their way to the site. Every single perspective has to pass that rigorous close level of content and expertise. So we are not diluting the waters, we’re just getting a little bit deeper. And we’d love for folks to wade in and join us.

D.J. Paris 50:19
Awesome. Well, everyone should go out and visit the clothes.com. It’s my favorite website for learn. In fact, every article they publish, we promote on on our Facebook page as well. And please follow us on facebook@facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod we post of course, all of our interviews and conversations and podcast episodes there. But also great articles like the ones are posted on the clothes.com helping agents grow their business. So Chris, great place to wrap up. Have a wonderful December and of course, Chris and I on behalf of Chris and I we want to wish everyone else in listening or viewing the same. Have a happy and healthy holiday season and, and Happy New Years and we’ll see. We’ll see you back in in January.

Chris Linsell 51:03
I’ll be here. I’ll be here. Great to talk to you. We’ll talk to you soon. Thanks, guys. All right, bye now.

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