Steve Siciliano and Darin Fyffe from Lowen Sign talk about their respective careers and their beginning of their joint business. Darin discusses what agents need to take into consideration before ordering signs. Next, Steve and Darin talk about the trends in design of signs and best practices around installation. Steve and Darin also discuss the the importance of updating the status of the home on the sign. Last, they present what services Lowen offers (Loyal Signs in Chicago) to their clients.
If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!
To get more information on the services Lowen Sign offers, please visit their website by clicking here.
D.J. Paris 0:00
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of 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 as we’re getting ready to wrap up 2021, we have a great interview with for you here today with Darren Fife and Steve siliciano. From Lowen signs, they’re going to be talking about best practices that top producers use with respect to their signage. So I thought that would be a great conversation. And it was but before we get to that conversation, just a couple of quick reminders as we round out the year, please, the best way you can help us is by telling a friend about our podcast. Think of one other agent that could benefit from hearing from top producers and send them a link to keeping it real best way you can do that is by sending them to our website, which is keeping it real pod.com Or just have them pull up any podcast app and search for keeping it real, hit that subscribe button. And for all of you that are listening right now on an Apple device via the podcast app, the Apple podcast app, we would really appreciate it if you would go and leave us a review that helps us helps us get more visibility and more listeners and more subscribers. But as always, thank you for continuing to support our show and now on to our interview with low insights.
All right, today on the show we have Steve siliciano and Darren might from Lowen signs and also from the loyal signs now. I’m going to introduce both Steve and Darren but we’ll start with Steve Now Steve scileanna has been born and he was born in Chicagoland his entire life, graduated from Eastern Illinois. He has a culinary certificate from ch IC. He’s been a real estate broker and property manager for 25 years before acquiring a small sign installation company in February of 2019. In December of 2019, he partnered up with low incorporation to develop a second sign installation company and established loyal real estate sign installers and loyal has realized exponential growth in the short time despite the pandemic. He’s very, very excited to continue growing that business. He likes to cook, play baseball, or basketball rather. And he’s also a supporter of any Chicago sports team. And he wanted us to say including Arlington Heights bears and for those sports fans out there, especially here in Chicago, we know that that is a big ongoing debate as are the bears moving to the suburbs, which is actually I was born in Arlington Heights, but I know virtually nothing about it, unfortunately. Sort of the worst person to ask about that. But anyway, Steve, welcome to the show.
Steve Siciliano 3:36
Welcome. Thank you, DJ.
D.J. Paris 3:38
I’m really excited. Go ahead and just do
Steve Siciliano 3:40
just for the record that the last name is Siciliana Oh, it’s a little, little
D.J. Paris 3:44
silly. I know. I said scileanna. Siciliana. My apologies. Yeah. Are we just could rename your scileanna But yeah, Siciliana is is much cooler. And I imagine so is your family from Sicily? Is that where Siciliana comes from?
Steve Siciliano 4:00
Well, I’m told no, we’re from Naples. But I do kid my elders a little bit about that. There has to be some sort of crossover somewhere there. Since our name kind of says it all.
D.J. Paris 4:11
Well, Naples is amazing as well unless we’re talking about Naples, Florida, which is awesome, too in a different way. We’re talking about Naples Of course it Italy. All right, and let’s talk let’s introduce Darren as well. Darren is from Darren Fife is from a small town he’s from it’s Hoisington. Kansas. Is that correct? Darren? That is correct. Hoisington Tech’s sorry, Kansas. He also graduated from Kansas State University. He has been a member of the loan signing company team for 11 years. He started out as a national sales rep worked all the way up to Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He oversees the entire sales and marketing staff of low and signs. He’s a huge fan of Kansas State Wildcats sports and the St. Louis Cardinals. I used to live in St. Louis. I can appreciate that passion. He is very passionate about his job and proud of what lowland science does and how they do it. Now please visit low and signs.com to learn what they can offer for all of your signage your physical marketing material needs. But if you’re in the local Chicagoland market, they the local version of low n is actually called loyal sign so you can visit loyal signs.com If you’re outside of Chicago, just go straight to low in signs and low in his l o w, en, and loyal signs. If you are here locally in the Chicagoland area. Guys, welcome to the show. Thanks for being on. And by the way, we should mention these are one of our sponsors, we love our sponsors. And we asked, we asked the guys here from Lowen and loyal to come on today, because they actually had a really good idea. And at first, I would have never thought of this idea. And I’m so grateful that they did. And the idea was let’s talk about signs. I’ve never had a conversation in the four or five years we’ve been doing this podcast we’ve done 300 And I don’t know 15 episodes at this point. We’ve never talked about signage. So I am so glad that that we’re have you guys on so let’s let’s before we get to, to you know what low and and loyal does. Let’s first talk about you guys and how you got into this business. Steve, you’ve been a Chicagoland broker, you’re very well known here in Chicago, tell us about how you got into the business 25 years ago, and sort of, you know how that career trajectory has has has happened?
Steve Siciliano 6:28
Well, I guess in the real estate business is about as random jumping from real estate to sign installation as it was from, from culinary school to real estate back in the day, I actually have an engineering degree. So I worked in the manufacturing sector for the first 10 years of my life after college, and then broke off and did some work in the restaurants for a couple of years, before coming across an opportunity to work in the real estate business and picked up some management jobs at first and then added the license later and, and built a business, you know, on my own ever since and it seemed to work was a very enjoyable job. I like being out with people. I really liked the construction portion of it and building homes and building condos at a time and putting people in places that that make them happy. And it’s usually a very important purchase for most people and one of the largest ones. So they’re pretty excited when it comes through. Okay. 25 years later I, I came across this small sign business, that installation business, I should say, that was literally servicing my office and a couple of offices in the local area around the Grange, and the gentleman and his wife who had been doing it for 1518 years, were going to retire. So long story short, you know, I talked to him about for the last few years of his of his business life anyway, and told him, you know, we’re going to sell this thing for you, I’ll help them, you know, get some value on it, put them in touch with our people. Well, turns out, I ended up buying it and was going to manage it from a side standpoint. And while my son who was just starting college was going to be my installer. So that worked out great for about nine months. We quickly modernized it and put things online and developed a smartphone app with a software company. And that was a big hit. And that just grew very quickly. And then in about what was it Darren September of that same year? A year? Yes.
So I run across Darren and his company, I actually reached out to him because I knew of Lowen as a realtor because I always bought my science from them. Because their quality is excellent and their shipping is quick. And I started by saying I want to be your preferred installer, meaning I wanted to you know, tap into their, their resources, their clients, I should say, when they were looking for installers and one thing led to another they saw an opportunity to to establish a bigger, I guess a bigger company and a bigger kickback from from generating sign business as well as installation business for the new division. And we progressed the partnership to to employment and it’s been really great ever since I kind of put brokerage as an agent, I should say kind of on the back burner and this thing has become bigger and bigger. By the month we started out. When I first started out we were doing about 80 installs a month. And now we can do almost 100 a day.
D.J. Paris 9:38
Unbelievable. That is incredible. Congratulations on the success of the company. It is an incredibly competitive business. And often you know it’s one of those things that I think agents, you know, they get assigned company and then they sort of forget that there’s other side companies that might be able to do things better or or with, you know, sort of a more cutting edge design or faster. And so I think this is a great opportunity just for all of our listeners to say, hey, you know, I’ve been using probably the same sign company for some time. And, and if it’s not low end, like, let’s check out what Lowen does as well. Darren, I’d love to hear about how you got into into this business.
Darin Fyffe 10:21
Yeah, mine’s not as exciting as Steve’s. But yeah, I, as you mentioned earlier, I graduated from Kansas State University. And my first job was actually in commercial banking in Kansas City and lived there for about five years, met my wife, we got married. And she is actually, we didn’t know this. But before we met, but she’s from the same area in Kansas that I’m from, she grew up on a farm. And after we got married, we wanted to be closer to family. So we started poking around the Wichita area, to try to find employment there. And I found Lowen. And they are a huge company. In central Kansas, I mean, we employ over 300 people there, and do all kinds of printing from from Fleet graphics, to real estate signage. So, you know, went in for an interview, got the job, and again, as you mentioned, started off at the ground level, and was driving all over the place, spent a lot of time at Texas, selling down there and, and just kept working my way up the ladder. And now I’m the Vice President of Sales and Marketing and, and yeah, managers manage a lot of people and and I love it. It’s awesome. It’s a great company. Couldn’t be happier. So
D.J. Paris 11:45
thanks, we’re glad to have you guys. You guys have been great supporters of our show, which, which we appreciate. And I think this will be such a fun conversation, because again, I’ve not really had it before. And you know, it’s funny, I think, oftentimes, realtors don’t realize or maybe don’t put enough thought into the aesthetics of their signage, and how most signs, you know, could be easily ignored. And it’s a real opportunity for an agent to get a bill creative. I’ve noticed there are some firms in the last few years that have started doing some cooler, more modern designs. I know you guys have a lot of that. But I’d really love to tell our talk to our audience about any trends that you’re seeing from agents that you think are working really well. You know, any sort of do’s and don’ts and just curious to get some best practice advice for for people think when they want to think about signage?
Darin Fyffe 12:45
Yeah, I think the, there’s, there’s a lot of different angles, I can take your DJ. Sure. But I think the biggest thing that people need to realize now is with the advancement of technology, there’s a lot of really cool stuff that you can do with signage. You know, you could you could do cut to shape stuff. So, you know, for example, we do, we do these huge heart shaped signs for this company up in the Dakotas. Really cool signs, I mean, so yeah, we can, there’s all day and with the printing technology, I mean, you can you can get as creative as you want. You know, we can print faces, and it basically anything animals, whatever you want us to print on your signage we can do. So so there’s that aspect, but I think most importantly, is depending on where you’re at, in the United States, whatever region you’re in. So like, for example, if you’re down in Florida, you know, on the coast, there’s salty air, so you want to make sure that you have the right we call it a substrate so the right, the proper metal so that it doesn’t rust with the salty air, you know, same thing like if you’re in you’re in Arizona, for example, it’s really really hot, really sunny all the time. So you want to make sure that your signage is manufactured correctly and has you know, a clear coat or protection over your, your your logos and whatnot. So that doesn’t fade and pill. So there’s a lot of different things that, you know, most people think that signage is a sign is a sign. Right. And honestly, I thought the same thing when I got into the business like wow, this, you know, but there’s so much that goes into it. It’s a very technical product. I know many of you may laugh when you hear that, but it really is. So yeah, those are just a couple things. We can I’m sure we’ll touch on several others as the conversation continues here.
D.J. Paris 14:47
Yeah, I just had a thought while while you were talking about you know the differences in the physical material and making sure that you have not only the right aesthetic look that you want but also the right type of sign that will withstand whatever weather, you know, is is appropriate for that area. And I was thinking about the aesthetics of it and realizing that a really big sort of gift was dropped into Realtors lap laps in the last couple of years, sadly due to the pandemic, so of course, a horrible tragic thing that the world is experiencing and continues to experience. But there is one neat one myth one of many little gifts. This I want, I just realized is QR codes. So we all knew we’ve known about QR codes, it’s been around for like 20 years, this is not a new technology. And none the public really didn’t embrace QR codes until about the beginning of the pandemic, because we all know when we when they started letting us back into restaurants. We all started noticing, oh, we’re now using QR codes for menus, we’re probably still doing that at every restaurant we’ve been to. So now the entire country, the whole problem with QR QR codes has been adoption, getting people to actually get used to doing it. And most people just never would ever do that in their daily life. Now, almost everyone in the country is using QR codes whenever they go to a restaurant. And so this is a huge opportunity for realtors to put them on their signs which Realtors used to do before. But I bet the number of people who actually, you know, scan to learn more kind of stuff when they’re driving by a sign or walking by one. I bet that usage has just gone through the roof. And I’m curious if you guys have seen that. I may be wrong, but it just seems like more people are using them now than ever before.
Darin Fyffe 16:40
Yeah, it’s very interesting. You mentioned that and you are you are right. We have noticed a pretty large uptick in in the QR code printing. And we also have our own QR code management software that we wrote ourselves. It’s called mobi bricks, that’s mo b i b Rix and it’s very, very easy to use. You just log into mobi. bricks.com, create an account. And you can literally so if let’s just say, writers, real estate writers, then you had 25 different writers that you purchase with 25 Different QR codes. They’re reusable with the software system, you can go in and, you know, reassign certain URLs to to the QR codes and have them for a long time and just keep reusing them. So yes, they kind of died on the vine there for a while. But yes, the pandemic has absolutely brought them back to life.
D.J. Paris 17:40
And this is Go ahead. Go ahead, Steve. I’m sorry.
Steve Siciliano 17:44
I know Darren speaks at a national level. But I, my what I see, I should say on a daily basis has not been as it’s not as popular as you might think. I do get some requests for realtors to put a QR code on there sign like an add on not not as a pre printed like one if that’s the sign go to their website or whatnot. I don’t see a lot of them pre printing either. I have probably more I’ve got probably 5000 signs, and I don’t think there’s five that have.
D.J. Paris 18:20
That’s That’s amazing. I think that’s a huge opportunity for realtors to realize that the average consumer is using QR codes now. And you know, it can’t be that expensive to throw a little add on onto a side scan me to learn more whatever.
Steve Siciliano 18:37
Oh, yeah. It’s not expensive. Yeah, there’s a there’s a similar program out there that at least a few of the larger brokerages have adopted. And that’s the it’s similar, I should say. But it’s, it’s used as text information. So you text a pre determined code to a predetermined address, and it sends you that same thing. Sure, realtor’s website or their listing information, or whatever they want to test to it just like a QR code. And I think maybe from a realtor standpoint, those have been more popular because you don’t have to be standing next to the sign to do it, right. Whereas a QR code, you gotta be close enough for your camera to take it. And you can only print the QR code so big on a realtor sign right. You’re limited to two square feet in most towns in the Chicagoland area. So it’s not a huge sign you can’t put can’t make it all QR code. You’re right, you know, it may change, it may get better. Who knows?
D.J. Paris 19:30
Well, my thought is, you know, as a consumer thinking about it, and I know that we don’t have to spend any more time on this, but I just was thinking if I’m walking by a property and I live here in the metro Chicago area, so there’s a lot of congestion and I can walk by and see things obviously out in the suburbs. It isn’t quite so much that way. But But I know if it was me, and I was interested in looking at a property and I see the for sale sign. I know that I as a consumer would be way more willing to scan a QR code versus sending a text. And I am not suggesting people shouldn’t have both options on a sign? You absolutely should. Because, as Steve mentioned, yeah, maybe they’re driving by and the only thing they can get is the phone number. And they can text in and get and also the realtor wants that phone number, of course, as well, because they want to call the person back and say, Hey, I saw you’re interested. So I get that, that that’s preferable to a realtor to get that phone number text instead of the QR code. But if it’s me, I don’t know that I want those text messages, because then I have to unsubscribe from them. And I’m like, now I’m going to be an A, but the QR code thing we’re all conditioned to use. So I would just as a suggestion to our listeners, consider adding both to your sides, add, you know, text this To learn more, and you can create an automated system, there’s a million different services that provide that and then, you know, these guys through Moby bricks can actually do your QR codes as well. So I just just thinking of that as as an option. But I’m also curious to talk about design. Are you guys seeing what are you seeing sort of trend wise, with respect to the the sort of design of signs are we seeing, are we still seeing a lot of agents headshots, on signs? Are? We see a trend moving away from that? Obviously, there’s both. But I’m curious on on, if you have any general suggestions of and maybe urban markets and rural markets work differently that way? I’m just curious if you have any best practices, because we get that question a lot here at our own firm, we’ve got about 800 agents here in our company, and they always are asking things like, hey, on my business card, or on my site, should I have my headshot? Should I not? Just and again, there’s no right answer for everyone. But I’m curious on what you guys think about that?
Darin Fyffe 21:52
You know, that’s, that’s a good question. I think headshots are, you know, it’s 5050. I mean, some people really like them and want them and some just don’t. So if that’s just preference, but as far as as style, and, and some suggestions, I’m always a big believer that less is more, you do not want your signage to be too cluttered. You know, you want to watch your color, you don’t want to, you know, you know, a purple font on a black panel or something like that, because you’re just not gonna be able to see it from the street. So, you know, you have your major information that you absolutely want out there, your phone number, you know, your, your website, your URL, your name, obviously, and your brokerage, I mean, so all of that stuff needs to be, you know, the font needs to be the right size, and it needs to be very visible. So color schemes are very important. Another thing that I highly suggest is, have fun, get creative, you know, us writers, writers, you can tell, you can tell the story of your listing through very, very inexpensively through writers. I mean, yeah, if your listing has, you know, some crazy upgrades in it or whatnot for four or five bucks, you can buy a writer and have that out on the street. It doesn’t cost much and I feel like writers are are somewhat underutilized. Or, you know, get creative. Get funny, you know, I there’s a guy in Wichita that that has free tacos if you buy this house. I mean, some folks like that’s cheesy, but it gets attention. It really does. So I love
D.J. Paris 23:42
that. Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it will it catch someone’s eye? Yes. So I in you know what if you’re a realtor, and you’re like, hey, if you buy this home, I will give you $500 worth of free tacos or whatever, whatever the whatever you’re willing to give away. That’s just fun, and people will talk about it. And that might even get picked up by a local news outlet as well. Yeah, that would also be an opportunity to reach out saying, Hey, I’m a realtor, I just thought I’d do something kind of silly. And if you you know, here’s a picture of my son if you guys want to do a story about it, you could so there’s some there’s even some branding opportunities with that. You know, every every house you have you do some sort of giveaway, every listing you have and you put it on your writer and that would be fun for social media as well to be able to say okay, I just listed this new home Here’s the giveaway we’re doing for this new home. If you know if you buy it
Steve Siciliano 24:37
get entertaining, right make it entertaining, people want to be entertained realize what they’re doing.
D.J. Paris 24:42
And, you know, with respect to signs, how big do you usually recommend? I mean, I know that we all know what traditional sign you know, sign sizes look like, you know, I’m Oh, it’s funny. I walked by here in Chicago, and obviously real estate You know, yard space is limited here, and I don’t even have a yard where I live. So it’d be difficult to put to put a, you know, a nice looking L shape, or wooden type sign or metal sign. And so where I live, you’d have to, I don’t even know how you do it. But, but I see a lot of people making really unfortunate choices with with sometimes, you know, it’s like, they put a sign on a property and it’s just kind of zip tied to a fence or it just, it just doesn’t look that great. And you can see the zip ties and I know you guys do the installation, especially here locally in the Chicagoland area. Do you have any suggestions for just installation tips, you know, not specifically like, oh, do this, don’t do that. But just curious if you know, some some best practices around installation.
Steve Siciliano 25:52
Well around installation, you know, a lot of times you’re right, there’s still signs where there’s no place to put a post. They can very common in Chicago, for instance, where a lot of properties have an iron fence around the front yard, that would block the the post and sign if you put it inside there. So because of the city ordinance, and you can’t have it leaning out over the sidewalk, either, right kind of limited this somehow fascinating that flat against the fence. And that’s the only option you have. Right? I don’t see a lot of them like this, the only way you can probably spruce that up is to put some sort of frame around it. And still hanging on the fence that way. But I think I lean back towards there and in the printing and getting creative with with your brand. And what you have, not just on the listing that doesn’t have a place for a post, but on every listing you have, have a sign that showcases you or you know, catches the eye or intrigues the person something I see a lot of plain, pretty plain signs getting, you know, made and printed. And I think it’s a mistake, it’s maybe a lack of imagination. I know a lot of folks are trying to keep their cost down and they think that you print less, it cost less well. You know, as Darren pointed out with the digital technology nowadays, it really doesn’t matter if you’re printing five words, or 15 or less, it’s, it’s, it’s about the same price. And Less is more is a really good advice. Because it’s more eye catching, I think when you see a couple things that you can, you can grab the information or the name on a fly by and a car doing 2025 miles an hour. And then if you put a book up there to read there, they’re not only going to be able to read it all, they’re not gonna remember any of it, they’re not going to recognize who was even on the side.
D.J. Paris 27:38
I agree I, I do want to give a little bit of praise to accompany that many of our listeners, you might have this brokerage in your local area. And I don’t know if they if they use Lowen or not. So I apologize. If they don’t, they probably have their own sign company. But it for aesthetic purposes. I think if you look at what compass is doing, for our listeners, if you check out or just Google compass signage, they are really good at that minimal sort of style where it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, they have like a black background, some white lettering, it’s very crisp, it’s clean, but it looks good. And you can duplicate that whether you work at Compass or not. And you don’t have to necessarily copy that design and you shouldn’t copy someone else’s design. But to get an idea of branding, and maybe you’re not good at that. Does does. Does Lowen have a design department to assist? Or do they have people they can recommend to assist with the design?
Darin Fyffe 28:39
We do. We have our own design department. Many of the artists have been there for you know, 10 plus years, they, they’ve been around, they they know what looks good, they know what works. And most importantly, it’s free of charge. So so if you’re out there listening to this and you want to, you know rebrand, or upgrade your signage or if you’re a new agent, broker and need branding, give us a call, we’ll walk you through the process, we’ll you know, help you out, give you some ideas. And yeah, we’d love to do it.
D.J. Paris 29:12
Yeah, and you guys are so wonderful. We’ve had it’s funny, we’ve had a lot of sign companies reach out to us over the years, buddy enough. And we always went I don’t know that people are that interested in hearing about signage. And you guys just what you’re doing is so is so interested in exciting because the creativity that can be expressed with signs, you know, there’s a there’s a card company for business cards that sort of fits very similarly to what you guys do, which is called mu and they kind of came around mo they’re really neat company and they said we’re gonna make business cards cool. And they were really kind of one of the first companies to do that. And I love that you guys are doing that on the signage side. So you know you don’t have to look like everyone else. But you can get really creative and I love the fact that Lowen offers free design In services, a lot of the side companies that have reached out to us over the years, yeah, they have a lot of different design options, but they don’t really have a lot of personalized help in that way. So I love that you guys go sort of go that extra step and really help the agents, you know, showcase themselves. And really, whether or not somebody’s foot getting, whether or not your listing is going to get foot traffic, it almost doesn’t matter, because you as the agent can take pictures of your sign and maybe even with the seller, or however you want to do it or just you in front of the sign. And now you can blast that all over social media. So it doesn’t, you don’t have to think of it necessarily as well, gosh, this isn’t a rural part of the country, you know, of my area, no one’s gonna drive by it, no one’s gonna see it, that almost doesn’t matter. Because now you can broadcast it to everyone you know, through Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, and Tik Tok, and it’s so exciting. So you can get really creative. And if no one ever walks by it, it doesn’t matter. Because every all your followers might see it.
Steve Siciliano 31:08
Right, I would, I would make a suggestion to the to the realtors out there is just what you said, uj if if your assigned company doesn’t have those an offer marketing services like loan does, then give a loan a shot. Or if you’re some of the larger brokerages now to have the larger ones have entire marketing departments. But even the small boutique shops will have maybe one person who’s you know, a more of a marketing or design whiz and good with the PowerPoint and whatever other software there is to create things for them. A lot of realtors, you know, because they’re independent contractors, they’re, they’re pretty much you know, there’s, they’re stuck in that groove that they got to do everything themselves, but they may not the there’s people that specialize in some of those things that they can acquire that information or that, that talents, free or, or at no charge or very little charge, and really come up with some great something, you know, what you mentioned about compass as an example, what you’ve probably noticed, and maybe didn’t realize that detail is that those Realtors seem to have a knack and a common common thing added to their signings is a personal logo. So they’ve come up with, you know, an individual Realtor can create his own brand, not just with his name, or her name, or website, but you know, come up with a logo, and there’s, there’s online resources that’ll create things for you for next to nothing. There’s in house marketing departments like low and has, it’ll create something for you. But you know, I think I had one done years back and it’s it’s you go to a professional who knows what they’re doing with that stuff. And really just, you tell them your name, you tell them some general interests, you might have to tell them what you’re trying to promote about yourself. And somehow they come up with a picture figure that represents all of it. And that looks cool. And it’s that great colors. And it just all you got to do is edit up to the corner of your sign or corner of your, your business envelopes, or your or your, your email signature at any place you can put it it’s just a simple add on. And it’s a way of creating a brand for yourself and being recognized and noticed more frequently and easier.
D.J. Paris 33:17
Yeah, 100% agree. And I think this is the time that agents can start to find some, they’re they’re probably it’s we’re getting towards the end of the year that we’re going you know, things are slowing down. It’s the holiday season, we’re wrapping up, we all have a little bit more breathing room than we probably did over the last year. And so now’s the time to think about your marketing and to really think about, you know, how do I want to brand myself and and signage and getting signs made, whether it’s an open house sign an open house signs you can get really creative with as well I know for the building that I live in, it’s a condo building, and it’s a new development. And we now have these these stickers that are on the pavement, you know, right in front of where are our places, pushing people like, hey, go check out the model home by walking this way. I mean, you can do all sorts of really cool things, you know, obviously making sure that it’s in accordance with whatever the homeowners association or the neighborhood association allows, but you could do some really fun stuff for open houses forever for listings for just sold. Lots of cool things you can do. And and lo and can help with all that before. I want to ask you guys a question. And then I’m going to pause for a quick sponsor break. But But I want you to think about this during the sponsor break, which is if you were a new agent, or or an agent that’s just starting to really build their business. What advice would you have for them with respect to when when they get these listings, you know, just any sort of dues, or any sort of what you would recommend? For, you know, a sign. So so bear with us just a second and we’re going to, we’re going to answer that question in just a moment. We want to pause for a moment to talk about our sponsor follow up boss now, after interviewing hundreds of top Realtors in the country, you know which CRM is talked about by more than more than any other CRM by our guests. That of course is follow up boss. Now, let’s face it following up is the key to taking your business to the next level follow up boss will help you drive more leads in less time with less effort and don’t take my word for it. Robert slack who runs the number one team in the United States uses follow up boss and he has built a one and a half billion dollar real estate business in six years. Follow up boss integrates with over 250 different systems so you can keep your current tools and lead sources. Also, they have seven day a week support. So you’ll get the help you need when you need it and get this follow up boss is so sure that you’re going to love their CRM that for a limited time they’re offering keeping it real listeners a 30 day free trial. Now that’s twice as much time as they give everybody else. And oh yeah, no credit card required. That’s how competent they are, you’re going to want to give them your credit card because you’re going to fall in love with their CRM so much, but you don’t have to give it to them up front. But only if you use this special link which is follow up boss.com forward slash real again, follow up boss.com forward slash real for your free 30 day trial follow up like a boss with follow up boss. So Steven Darren, I know the obvious answer is yes. You want to put a sign on a property. I am curious to hear I wanted to ask about as a sale progresses, as a listing progresses rather newly listed under contract just closed. Curious to to hear your opinion on the importance of updating the sign actually. So I’m changing the question slightly updating the sign as the home progresses. I personally think it’s a great idea. Because it catches the eye up all of a sudden I’m walking by and I go ooh, under contract, I guess that homes about to sell. I as a consumer, I’m attracted to updated sort of stuff on on signs, you know, updated status is curious to hear your guys’s thoughts.
Darin Fyffe 37:21
I agree with that. I think it also makes the agent look better. If if they’re updating their signage, it makes them seem as if you know, they’re they’re a closer, you know, they’re getting the property sold fast. It’s it’s almost as marketing yourself, hey, this this property Wow, it was just listed yesterday and it’s already under contract, it makes you look good. And then a very, in my opinion, especially where I’m from the real estate markets very, very saturated. Especially right now with with how crazy it is. So you have to do whatever you can do to stand out, get creative, you know, stay on top of your signage, as you mentioned, by updating it stand out, you know, brag on yourself, promote yourself. So yes, that’s it definitely does that when you when you say you know, under contract or sold. So, Steve, you have any thoughts on that?
Steve Siciliano 38:20
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s definitely a good idea to promote the when you do accept the contract. Because the timing is noticed by the people driving by they’re on regular basis. They know that that signs went up for a week, or they know what that signs been up for six months, but somehow they know, they don’t they might even read it every day. But they know for some reason that they’ve seen that sign often enough. And in some of the realtors, I would probably suggest to and you mentioned DJ, maybe newer realtors, if you’re gonna be in this business, get your name out there. I see time and time again. A lot of realtors just putting up the generic office panel which is fine if you’re going to do that or while you’re waiting to maybe have some signs designed for yourself. But get that get a name writer up there with you. I mean it’s great to promote your brand as Bureau I’m sorry, your brokerage house. But you need to promote yourself especially
D.J. Paris 39:14
your clock fester clients don’t care about your firm they care about you.
Steve Siciliano 39:19
And you know some do some built with it. You know they’re not Yeah, you don’t want them just calling Coble banker, for example. You want to call DJ DJ sold that house in two days that under contract writer was up there to do days. I’m calling that guy see what he’s got to say when I’m ready to sell my house and updating
D.J. Paris 39:35
your miter. Yeah, it seems such a great idea. And Darren and Steve, thanks for those answers. Such a great idea too. Because now and again you have to always think about branding is if you get an opportunity to put a under contract sign or just closed or just listed you now have another opportunity to grab your phone, turn it around, hit that you know record button for video and say it record now an Instagram story or a Facebook story or just a post saying, I am so excited, we just put this on the on. And I’m just about to put my, you know, to update my sign here with just, you know, just accepted an offer or whatever that is a great that creates great content for social media. So even though it’s this physical thing that exists in the real world, and the people who drive by might appreciate it, especially neighbors. You know, it also gives you an opportunity to do create some social media content,
Steve Siciliano 40:31
right. And I wasn’t it was common this past year. So as we get installations up very fast each day, we actually promise it right on our website, it’s going to be done in two business days or less. There has been a countless number of times that before I can get them up the thing assault, there are selling them, you know, because we have this private listing network now. So they can do a little bit of pre advertising before it’s actually publicly advertised, which helps. But regardless, it’s been the order comes in today. And before I get it out tomorrow, these houses were selling. Now, some agents would call me and say, great news at an under contract writer to that thing, when you put it up, other agents would call in and say, you know, I’m going to cancel that because I already sold it. And that’s crazy. I shake my head. And I just think that is the best advertisement. And most economical advertisement you could have, you’re going to put up a side effect. Purposely and intentionally delay it, put the sign up today, put the under contract, right or up tomorrow, or in two days. I mean, now make it look like you did something and make sure it’s no, because if you don’t put the sign up, yeah, some people are going to know it. But boy, a lot more would know, when they see the sign go up and they see the under contract, right or up and the next day or two,
D.J. Paris 41:49
I know that I would be so impressed if all of a sudden, I see a new listing go up. And then like you said, the next I’m a neighbor and I see a new listing, oh, they’re neighbors of selling their home. And then the next day under contract, I want to talk to that realtor. How did you do that? Because, and and and and so for all of our listeners, you know, thinking about this from marketing perspective, you now have an opportunity to go. And look, there’s lots of ways to do it if you’re confident enough. And I’m not suggesting this is the best strategy, but it could be do some door knocking talk to the neighbors say Hey, I didn’t mean to bug you. But just wanted to let you know I’m working with selling selling their home. And not so much to brag because you can all always say, you know, instead of asking for business, which some people are uncomfortable doing, saying, hey, just so if you see me around the neighborhood, I just want you to know I’m working with selling so didn’t want you to think I’m a prowler, you know, you can be funny about it. But you could also send mailers, if you don’t want to do it in person or, you know, leave something on people’s doorsteps and say, Hey, didn’t notice it didn’t know if you noticed, but so and so I’m working with them on their home, you know, and if you ever have any questions about your the value of your home, we’d love to chat with you. So you know, there’s so much opportunity. But if you don’t have that sign, it becomes a lot harder to penetrate that neighborhood. Because right out of sight out of mind, people don’t see a sign, they might not even know that so the neighbors are moving. Because you know, I know I wouldn’t know if a home next to me goes on the market and I’m in this business, the only way I know is that there’s a sign because I don’t have alerts set up like that. So guys, signage is so much more important than just for that specific property, it is your brand. And you are such an opportunity here to really get your name out there. And you can be creative and fun. And Lowen is the company to use to get creative and fun and to get it installed quickly. So guys, let’s just talk very quickly about what Lowen offers to make sure that our audience has a good understanding. And by the way, again, if you are in the local Chicago area, loyal signs can take care of all of this, they are a part of Lowen and they can do the install as well. But let’s talk about Lowen and just kind of what they offer. So if you don’t mind just letting our listeners know what exactly you guys provide.
Darin Fyffe 44:07
Yeah, absolutely. Um, well, first of all, we’ve been around for 71 years we’ve been around amazing. Yeah, than any other side real estate, signage manufacturing company in the United States. You know, we the biggest thing that I think separates us from everybody else, is that we manufacture everything ourselves. We don’t buy container loads of goods from other countries, bring them in, mark them up and resell them. We don’t do that. We literally have metal fabrication facilities. We have our own powder coating line. We do everything ourselves and we have very, very high strict quality standards. So we know that it’s going to be right every time. That’s in my opinion. That’s that’s the most important thing about Lowen. We’re a Midwestern company, we We have Midwestern roots, and we are very fanatical about customer service. You know, if you call into Lowen, somebody’s going to answer the phone, we don’t believe in the, you know, the robots answering the phone, we want to talk to you. And we’re going to answer the phone every time. So and also, you know, we really pride ourselves on being tech savvy, you know, if you want a custom, back end web portal, or some API integration to make your lives easier, we’re more than happy to help you with that. And we have a very, very good team of, you know, web developers, that can do do all of that stuff for you. So, in a nutshell, and honestly, quality, you know, we the founder, Mike Lowen, you know, we, he took a lot of pride in it, and, you know, his son now owns the company, and he carries on that, you know, that that huge quest for having the best quality in the industry. And we’re really proud of it. And, you know, Steve, you know, he can attest to this, you know, he was a broker for a long time. And he used many other companies other than Lowen. And he’s told me many times that our, our quality is, is head and shoulders above everybody else’s. So you know, that’s it, you know, I, if you’re listening, give us a give us a shot, I’m very confident that you will be impressed with not only our service, but but the quality of your signage, and you know, what it, it’s an investment, you know, it’s a marketing tool, it’s an investment, so you want to get as much ROI as you’re out of your investments as possible. Signage is no different. I mean, if you’re going to spend money on something, you know, the old, the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. And that holds true with real estate, signage, as well. So you may pay a couple, couple more dollars for something, but you’re gonna get a lot more lifestyle. So
D.J. Paris 46:54
100%, could not agree more. And I know that if I’m a listing agent, and I’m talking about all of the different ways, I’m going to help a seller, you know, market their home, sell it for the highest price, I’m going to mention, hey, this might sound sort of trivial, but I’m gonna explain why it’s important, we’re gonna get you a really nice looking sign out front, because we want people who who drive by or walk by to know that this is a high quality home, that that it’s being represented by a high quality agent, and we want to attract, you know, I would talk about that, and I am partnered with low and signs, because they are the best. It sounds like maybe a homeowner wouldn’t care about that. But I know, as a homeowner, that if I was interviewing realtors, and I was saying, well tell me about your marketing strategy, and say, Well, I have partners, you know, for flyers, brochures, and I also have a sign partner, I want to talk about that for a moment, you know, and explain what we can do. And it’s not just that it’s going to sit in the front of your property, I’m going to promote it like crazy on social media, I’m gonna stand in front of it and make little fun videos. I mean, this could be part of the listing presentation. It sounds sort of silly, but it’s not. It’s really, really important. And it could be what separates you from all the other realtors says, oh, yeah, we’re gonna put a sign in the yard. And yeah, that’s what everyone else is gonna say. You could say, here’s what I’m going to do with that sign. I’m going to do some cool fun marketing stuff. And we’re going to blast it out on social, and it’s going to look really great. And I got the best company on the planet. They’ve been around 71 years. They know what looks cool. I mean, again, it sounds like does it sell or care about that? Well, if you if you explain it, they will care about that.
Steve Siciliano 48:39
Right. And you, you probably know, but if a realtor hasn’t picked up yet, on how important those that sign is in the front yard to the sellers, then I don’t know who they’re working with. Because I on a regular basis, I get calls, not from the agent, or from the agent, of course, but not from the agent who wants it and it’s just you know, three feet to the left or the side of an angle. It’s the it’s the homeowners, they want that thing up. The second they decide they want to sell and and are ready to go. They want that post up that day. They want it to look and clean and sharp. They want it straight and narrow, and they want it and they want it up right away. I think as technology has progressed and less so much of it has become you know, advertising has gone from paper to internet and then social media and all sorts of good stuff that I think that things go second be electronic. We’re not gonna make posts electronic you can’t do that. It’s still it’s still the first step. So the first signal the first red flag goes up when a listing is active and ready to sell the signs up in the yard. That’s how you started then started. That’s the kickoff from all the for all the marketing
D.J. Paris 49:51
is really important, which I’ll do with it. Go ahead I’m
Steve Siciliano 49:55
sorry. And one of the one of the reasons why and I know This as a realtor for all the years because I did that, but now I see it even exponentially in my clients that are now the realtors I’ve worked with for so long that it’s important to have that clean post in that in that sharp looking, color and unscratched. So one of the first things we did was reinvest in a lot of inventory, the posts that we use are much higher quality than, than some of the posts that are out there. Ours are approved to have to be produced by Lowen. But they’re aluminum, they’re powder coated, they have somewhat of a shiny luster to them, they’ve got beveled end caps, it’s just a sharper looking post and it’s it stays looking good longer. It doesn’t rust, doesn’t scratches, easy, it doesn’t warp or chip. And for that reason, you know, we we make their posts or make the sign look better, because it’s designed to stay stare straight and narrow, and it looks sharp, as good as newly painted.
D.J. Paris 51:04
And guys, for everyone listening, Look, the bottom line is low, it’s just the best out there. So I we rarely recommend really anything on our show because we try to stay product neutral. And we have lots of wonderful sponsors that we really enjoy. But lo and truly is an exceptional sign company. They’ve been around longer than anyone. They’re incredibly professional, they understand that if they don’t deliver for you, you’re gonna go back to your other sign company, they know that and they want to earn your business. We want you to support them, they support us on our show. We are big believers in them. So everyone give them an opportunity to give them a shot. Reach out to them. If you’re outside of the Chicagoland area, just go to low insights.com LOWE en signs.com. If you’re within the Chicagoland area, the the local version of them is loyal signs. So go to loyal signs.com If you’re here, Chicago, local agent and give them an opportunity to earn the rest of your business. Guys, is that important. You want a nice looking sign I was just just next door to our office here. I really probably shouldn’t say this because people could probably figure out who it is. One of the very best agents in the Chicagoland area has a listing. And I love this agent. And the sign is chipped. And it’s not a big deal. And this agent probably doesn’t know it’s chipped. It’s not her fault. It just happened. And it’s been chipped for about three weeks now. And I noticed that every time I walked by now I work here so I walked by it every day, and it sort of bugs me. And it shouldn’t bug and this agent’s awesome. And I’m not trying to disparage them, they probably don’t know, it’s Jeff. But I think you know, you want to get a high quality sign. And you Lowen is going to take care of you. So give them an opportunity Guys look, they support our show, support them, give them a shot. I trust I trust in Lowen. And I believe that they will take great care of you and your client. And if you’re here locally in Chicago, us loyal because they’ll gonna get it up for here within 48 hours. And we know how quickly things go. So it’s important for speed speed to lead, as they say, right, so I want everyone to visit Lo and signs.com and if you’re here in Chicago, visit loyal signs.com They can do everything for you, guys. Thanks for being on the show. Thanks for being such a supporter of our of our podcast. We’re huge fans of yours. And, and we now I need to evaluate the signage we have at our brokerage to attract more realtors. So I might be reaching out to you guys to come up with some ideas of what we can do signage wise to attract other agents. Yeah, I know you do. So on behalf of our audience, we want to thank Darren and Steve for coming on the show. These guys are busy, they’ve got a huge massive company. And they took time out of their day to be on our show. We appreciate that. And also on behalf of Deron, Steve and myself, I want to thank the audience for continuing to listen to support our show. And I’m just asked that everyone do one thing outside of giving Lowen an opportunity. Please do also tell a friend about this podcast. Maybe an agent who’s new in the business and doesn’t really understand signage or somebody that needs to take their science to the next level, send them a link to this episode. You can always send them directly over to our website, keeping it real pod.com Every episode we’ve ever done is stream live there. Or they can also follow us on Facebook where all of our episodes firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash keeping it real pod. There’s an episode section on the Facebook page. Every single episode we’ve ever done is there. Steve and Darren, thank you so much for being on the show. huge fans of you guys. And I want to just tell our audience give low in a shot. They will not let you down. They’re awesome.
Darin Fyffe 54:47
Thank you, DJ. Yeah, it’s our pleasure. Appreciate it.
D.J. Paris 54:49
Thanks, guys. And we’ll see everyone on the next episode.
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