Dana Bull from Sotheby’s International talks about the beginning of her career in real estate. She then focuses on how agents can improve their marketing in 2021 and how to recognize their brand and figure out their niche. In the second part of the interview, Dana discusses branding and her best recommendations for strengthening this part of your marketing efforts. Further, Dana focuses on communication, how to present yourself to new clients and how to keep in touch with old clients. Last, Dana talks about social media and how to use them as a research and development tool.
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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 today, we’re gonna be speaking with Dana bull who is not only a top producer, but also a marketing and branding expert. So we’re gonna be talking about how to incorporate more of that into your real estate business now in 2021. Before we get today, now quick sort of show notes behind the scenes note, while we were recording this, we actually had a failure about halfway through the episode, so we had to rerecord the second half. So if you’re watching this instead of listening, you’ll see that we’ve we’re in different clothing all of a sudden, if you’re listening, you probably won’t notice it as much. But there may be a slight change in the audio there. So we’re we stitched it together to make it look like one continuous and sound like one continuous episode. But technically we recorded it twice and special thanks to Dana bowl for being so patient and understanding through that glitch. So we love Dana She’s amazing. And you’re about to hear why we wanted to rerecord the part that we missed because she’s so excellent. Alright guys, so without further ado, let’s get to Dana ball.
Okay, today on the show, we have Dana bull from Sotheby’s International Realty from the Boston area and north of Boston area. Let me tell you a little bit about Dana. Dana caught the real estate bug in her early 20s. Investing in homes across the Boston area. Drawing from years of hands on experience, she developed a niche for advising clients on ways to maximize wealth through real estate and active voice in the real estate arena. Dana has been a columnist for the Zillow group, and has written for Zillow, Inman National Association of Realtors, among other publications. She’s a frequent expert in the media and her commentary has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Washington Post, and countless other outlets. Dana is a certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, and the marketing director for Team harbor side, which is the number one Sotheby’s International Realty Team on Boston’s North Shore, please visit her website at Dana bold realtor.com. Again, that’s Dana bull realtor.com. And welcome Dana to the show.
Dana Bull 3:10
Thanks, DJ. Thanks for having me.
D.J. Paris 3:12
We’re so I’m so excited because I am also a writer, although certainly with with not as many of the credits as you have earned. So I and you have a lot of opinions. And we’re so excited to have you to tell our audience. Yeah, yeah. We will not torpedo your career in this in this interview right now. But we definitely want I would love to know a lot about sort of your thoughts about, you know, the current state of affairs in real estate. But before we get to all that, I’d love to know your story. So how did you get into real estate? You know, we’re, how did you get involved and when and why?
Dana Bull 3:46
Sure. So I got into real estate more. So on the investing side, I graduated college in 2011, with a freshly minted marketing degree, right into the recession. So it was slim pickings in terms of employment at the time, I landed a job that I great job that I wasn’t passionate about in tech marketing. So I was selling software. But in the background, I had kind of this side hustle with my boyfriend, and we were buying real estate in the Boston area. So we did that for a few years. And actually, it was my real estate agent who told me, you know, you’ve got to come over to the dark side, you have to get your license. And I give him all the credit. He forced me to go and get my license
D.J. Paris 4:36
and even just even just to save on commissions as a
Dana Bull 4:39
writer, right. You know, his rationale was I’ve taught you so much going through the process with you vying that you’re really already in a great position to start helping other people. And he was right. So I was working in tech, and also doing real estate on the side for maybe six months, but For I ended up having to go full time into real estate.
D.J. Paris 5:03
Wow. And then have you been doing it ever since I’m guessing?
Dana Bull 5:07
Yeah, so I’ve had to make some tweaks to, to my career just really as my life changes. In the past six years, I’ve had two kids. So going through that, and, you know, trying to stay full time is pretty difficult. So I’ve done a lot in terms of building up my referral network, and referring out a good portion of my business out to other agents. And I also do marketing for a team. And I love that aspect of my job where I basically get to put together all the promotions for our exceptional properties. So that’s anything that is a multimillion dollar listing, or just anything that’s historically significant or different, or something that we need to promote through some unique channels.
D.J. Paris 5:58
Yeah, that’s so gosh, that’s so interesting, your path has been really, you know, so many people get into the business as as investors. So that’s such a common reason to get a license, whether they ever help individual buyers and sellers or just their own transactions. We I know, at our firm, we have about 700 Realtors here, and I don’t know, I’d say at least a fifth of them are investors. So it’s very, very common reason why people get their license. And maybe traditional agents don’t always know that, who are only working with, you know, retail clients, and the public. But, you know, I think you’re right to like having that experience with your own investments really sets you up in a way that maybe other agents without that past experience, to allow you to better service those clients. And I imagine Did you also work with a lot of investors to simply because you knew that landscape really well.
Dana Bull 6:48
So that’s how it panned out. In the beginning, I was fortunate and that I was 25 years old when I when I became licensed. And so I was in a just a prime time to serve my friends and my family. And that really started to snowball. So at that time, everybody’s thinking about, Oh, should I buy my first place? And who do I know in my sphere? Oh, Dana, she already owns five properties, she must have an idea of how this all works. So it was kind of a layup. And that when you think about it that way, but what was strategic is that I really branded myself to towards helping my own demographic. And it was, you know, easy, because it was front of mind. I knew what I was doing. But I also kind of system. I built out systems for for that aspect of the business. And so I was able to kind of tailor the experience for buyers and offer something that other agents weren’t able to offer. And I feel like I was able to connect with my clients on many different levels, because we were kind of in the same point in life, right?
D.J. Paris 7:59
Yeah, I mean, I bought my first place when I was, I think I was 29 or 30. And I was one of the last this is back a million years ago. But I was one of the last people, you know, to do that in my peer group, because I was like the poorest of all my friends. So I just couldn’t do it. And so yeah, I think getting your license in the mid 20s, after already, investing in a number of properties, really does set you up to help your peers and all of the people in your sphere of influence. But you’re you’re really a marketing person at heart as well. Right? That’s, that’s really where you spend a good chunk of your time now, I love talking to marketing people. I’m a marketing person at our company, although in a different capacity than what you do. But I would love to talk marketing with you, because we don’t really get to talk a lot about that on the show. Just talking about what you think agents get right, what do they get wrong? You know, if somebody’s out there thinking, you know, obviously, the business is all about finding new new people who need your services, which a lot of that is covered through marketing, and would just love to get your thoughts and ideas about how agents could improve their marketing in 2021. And maybe just some things that you see working and what you see maybe that isn’t working.
Dana Bull 9:08
Do you want to start with marketing ourselves as agents or properties?
D.J. Paris 9:14
Okay, yeah, let’s let’s start with ourselves simply because for a lot of our listeners who maybe feel like they should be busier right now, because rates are so low, and people have been inside and maybe itching to move. But of course, we’re limited in our ability to physically move around. You know, there’s a lot of agents that I know, at least at our firm, there’s a lot of agents that are frustrated, who are going how come some agents are so incredibly busy, and others aren’t? I know, there’s no easy answer for that. But we’d love to they are always like, what are they doing that other agents aren’t doing? And I would just love to pick your brain about what you see working with marketing yourself. Sure.
Dana Bull 9:47
So the first thing that I would do, and I did this for when I was building my investment portfolio, and I also did this with my own business is I don’t want to look at the business in a vacuum, I want to step back and look at it in terms of my life, and what are my goals, because a lot of times when you’re putting together your business plan, it doesn’t play nicely with some of the other goals that you have for yourself, and you become frustrated because it’s unachievable in the grand scheme of things. So I think once you’re able to do that, you can set some, you know, kind of build this, this business for yourself that just cooperates with everything else that you have going on. So for instance, for me this year, I just had my second baby, he’s four months old. Thank you. So what do I want to be doing this year? Well, I kind of want to be going to mom’s groups, you know, because I want to make new mom friends. But that’s also, you know, a benefit of that is meeting new people in my community that are in a situation where they might be looking for a new home, when, you know, it could be in a few months or a few years, and they have another kid. So just kind of going out there and, and networking, but also making friends. Right. So but I think that that’s a mistake that a lot of people make is they set these really aggressive business goals. And then it’s, they don’t set themselves up for success, because you know, it has them working every single weekend or every single night. And they’re going in a million different directions. So the other aspect is I really tried to narrow in on that focus. I say no to opportunities every day, I say node Mon, almost all opportunities. I know that sounds crazy. But for instance, I refer out about 90% of my business, and I keep about 10%. Because I will only take on a client, if I know that I can absolutely knock it out of the park. And if they really kind of fit my super specific criteria. So I think that because I’ve said no, no, no. So many times, it’s allowed me to really focus on the things I can say yes to, which is something that I think most people are are afraid to do. But you know what, what it does allow you to do is you’re able to to everyday focus on the aspects of your job that you really love. And then I think you end up having more business coming your way, because you’ve become an expert, right?
D.J. Paris 12:25
Yeah, it’s that jack of all trades, master of none, right? Yeah, and it does a couple other things, too, by saying no, what you’re really doing it from a, I mean, assuming it’s from a very authentic and honest place of I could do this possibly, but I have somebody else that would do a much better job, or I just don’t know that area, Mr. And Mrs. Client, and it really doesn’t make sense for me to represent you, because someone else will do so much, I will find that person or I already have that person, they’re going to they’re going to take amazing care of you. I mean, that is an incredible amount of trust that just is established from from from the client, that you’re willing to step away, you’re not saying I’m not taking care of this, but I’m gonna give you to somebody that will do a better job. And that that’s a very powerful thing to build trust. Also respect, you know, nine out of 10 agents wouldn’t do that. Probably I’m just making that up. But that’s probably about the statistic, probably eight out of 10 agents would say I’ll take the list, I’ll take the listing, or I’ll take the buyer, and I’ll just learn the stuff along the way. I think that is a really powerful way to also Yeah, just establish yourself as an honest, trustworthy person who can really authentically wants to help the client in the best possible way. And of course, it builds great relationships with other realtors, who might be able to, you know, with your super strict criteria of who you do work with, maybe they’ll be able to pass you know, business back to
Dana Bull 13:47
you. Exactly. And so I think when I look at my business, I’ve spent a significant amount of time kind of protecting the areas where I work, but an equal amount of time networking with other agents and trying to find agents who, you know, this agent specializes in distressed properties, or this agent specializes in commercial or whatever those various niches are. I think it’s just as valuable for me to be able to make an introduction as it is to serve the client.
D.J. Paris 14:20
And I think what you’re also seeing too, is by servicing all clients who kind of want to do all types of transactions in a large geographic area, is you’re you’re really taking away time to focusing on learning and mastering your own area too. And we all know what that’s like that I and Brian Buffini, I think was the one who sort of famously said, if you’re a real estate agent, and you’re working an eight hour day, and I’m assuming this is him, so I apologize if I’m misquoting this, but something to the effect of somebody said it. They said about six of that eight hours is spent servicing your existing clientele. And you’re probably spending an hour at best, you know, trying to find new clients on a given and maybe an hour managing your finances or just you know, doing admin stuff. But most of the day is spent servicing existing clients. So if you are taking listings or buyer clients in areas that you’re not familiar with, you’re going to be spending the majority of your day working for them. And that’s okay, if that’s what you want to do. But you’re thinking the long game, which Dana, obviously, you are you’ve done is say, hey, I really want to be an expert in this one specific niche. And I’m willing to, you know, still earn, how great it is when you can earn a referral commission on all these other transactions and find trusted partners and then not have to spend that six hours every day or, you know, working on those clients that you really that isn’t your main focus.
Dana Bull 15:40
Yeah, it, it’s, that’s the beauty of it, is you’re able to help the client, put them in touch with the best person and then that kickback is really nice. When you do get that referral, check in the mail, you know, months later after somebody else has really been doing the work. But yeah, I mean, I think that comes from a position of of serving the client, but also recognizing your own brand, your own skills, and and what makes the most sense for you. Quick question
D.J. Paris 16:08
back to the giving away 90%, because I’m sure there’s a lot of people that are really getting getting stuck on that number, because it’s such a high number. I’m curious, once you started doing that, did your business actually your bottom line actually increase over time, because you’re you’re just being able to focus your energy, you know, on the stuff that you want to do, I’m just, I imagine that probably over time did increase your business. So I
Dana Bull 16:35
would say I’m on that trajectory. Now. I would say my quality of life improved greatly. And again, this came out of necessity of when I got into real estate, I didn’t have any kids. So I didn’t care, I could work 100 hours a week, it didn’t matter, and I would. But then that came to a screeching halt when I realized that I no longer had that agility. So right now I’m, I’m in the phase of building up this type of business. And this was a great year. I mean, I had a baby during a pandemic, and still ended up making 30 referrals between $400,000 and $4 million transaction. And, you know, this is not my revenue wise best year, not by a longshot. But it was it was less stressful. And I’m a lot happier. And I know that those numbers will be reflected in years to come as I start to build this out. Yeah,
D.J. Paris 17:35
that’s quite such an important lesson. And for everyone listening who is saying, I don’t really know my niche yet, maybe I’m a new realtor, and I don’t have that quite zeroed in on or I just do so many things. Do you have any advice for agents who are struggling to figure out what their niche is? Because the easy answer is, oh, I want to do luxury real estate because everybody wants to do luxury real estate because they think maybe that’s the solution to whatever their business challenges might might feel like just like, if I said, Well, I wish I was, you know, wealthier, that’s going to solve all my problems. Maybe it would maybe it would probably wouldn’t. But but the idea is a lot of people want to be a luxury real estate agent so that they can earn higher commissions. And but that’s not always the best niche for a person if that’s maybe not something that you’re actually authentically passionate about.
Dana Bull 18:26
Right, right. Oh, you nailed it. I do a lot of work in the luxury space. But that is not my favorite area, in terms of representing clients, because the deal cycles is so long. I find it stressful. But I love you know, I love working with first time investors, there’s so much to talk about, there’s so much to educate these clients on and they’re just so excited to be doing it. So I find that to be extremely rewarding. So I think if you haven’t established and especially if you’re a new agent, there’s a couple of different ways that you could approach this. One is just kind of brainstorm what areas of real estate are you interested in? Are you most passionate about? That could be a specific type of property. You know, maybe you live near the ocean. So it’s a specific type of condo or specific type of house. Maybe it’s distressed properties because you want to get into the, you know, finding deals with people and kind of scrounging around, you know, you enjoy that sort of Chase. So I would first just think about it what what area excites you the most and what area could you see yourself spending time in and educating yourself on and becoming a master up? I think just talking to other agents about their experiences, what areas they like or dislike. And, you know, you could take the opposite approach of what I did and instead of picking a net You could start broad and narrow it in as you get experience and in these different avenues. And then once you find something that resonates or clicks, you really hone in on that. So I think you can start small and go big, or you could do it in reverse.
D.J. Paris 20:16
Well, in your case, it was probably easier to start small, because you had already had experience as an investor. And what’s really cool about that particular niche, and I’m not suggesting to all of our listeners and viewers that that’s the niche they should consider, because obviously, you might not have passion for that, or, but you can certainly learn it. And I’m curious, and I’m just curious what what your experience has been as, as an agent, who, you know, has worked with investors, you’re an investor yourself has worked with traditional buying and selling public, the percentage of Realtors, you know, that actually are qualified to really speak to investors about real estate investments, it’s got to be a pretty small percentage, I would assume is that would you agree with that?
Dana Bull 20:58
Yes. And so my take on on the the industry that I serve, or that this niche is, I’ll be frank, it is super sketchy. It’s just whatever there’s a listing for, you know, a multifamily house, it’s always like, Who is this agent? Who is this agent? What is this agency? What are those photos? Like? What is going on here? And it’s, I don’t understand it. I don’t I don’t understand why, just because it’s an investment property, why does it need to be showcased so poorly? It doesn’t make any sense to me, but
D.J. Paris 21:34
you never even see professional photography.
Dana Bull 21:38
up with that, like, why is it so hard to just have a photographer take a high res photo? I don’t know. But I think what I bring to that area is, is a higher caliber, which is important, you know, buying a multifamily, it’s, it’s not a small investment, it’s a big chunk of change. And so I think my buyers, they feel like they’re in good hands, because they’re backed by an agent that specializes in that area and also works for an agency that is well respected. You know, Sotheby’s International Realty, is known as being a luxury brand, although that’s not all we do. But I think people just feel like they’re, they’re in good hands.
D.J. Paris 22:26
Yeah, yeah, I agree. I mean, obviously, the Sotheby’s brand is a huge, you know, huge brand, and for a lot of different reasons. And, you know, they have the carries a lot of weight. But the fact also that you do investment, which you typically you think, luxury equals Sotheby’s, of course, they do. And you said, it’s not all they do, of course, as well. But you’re right. And I think, you know, you do see that a lot back to the investment side, where you do see these listings, from these agents that you’ve never heard of, you know, with these sort of, you know, strange, you know, listings on the MLS, that that, you know, seemingly aren’t aren’t all that professionally shot or described. And but, you know, that’s, that’s the other thing, too, is that agents oftentimes think that, well, I don’t want to get into investments, because I don’t know any investors. And the reality is, has been my experience with working with lots and lots of agents over the years that they say, oh, finding the investors is actually the easy part, the money part is really easy. The hard part is finding the deal and finding something that that actually makes sense. But I think it’s also important for all the listeners and viewers to to note that especially people who are who are who skew younger, they are learning about House hacking, that is a that is a very common term that is being talked about all over social media in the news. So as an agent, if you’re not talking to even your traditional buyers and sellers, about you know, whether investing makes sense for them, just assuming that they’re not interested, they might be studying that on their own.
Dana Bull 23:57
Right. And especially, you know, with with House hacking, what’s so great about this specific niche is it’s usually not just one transaction, right? His clients end up purchasing maybe another investment property, or ultimately their primary residence at some point. So, you know, that’s why and the deals are hard. They are very difficult in terms of all the red tape that’s involved when you’re purchasing a building that’s tenanted, and just a lot of times, they’re distressed. So there’s a lot of intricacies there. But you can learn it, you know, if it’s something that that you want to get into, you could partner with another agent in your firm and see if they can mentor you and obviously you want to add some value there. But it’s that’s definitely when you’re exploring these different niches. I think partnering up with somebody for a couple of them isn’t a bad idea. And again, that people don’t want Gonna do that because they don’t want to lose the commission. But you you it’s really an investment in yourself and in your business to learn how to do it the right way.
D.J. Paris 25:09
So yeah, and what I what I recommend to agents too, if you’re, if you’re newer especially is to try everything, I mean, try rentals, try residential rentals, maybe even try a commercial space. Try on the investment side, you know, for sales multifamily. Try as much as you can to see what you actually enjoy doing work with buyers, sellers, renters investors. And this was the one of one of the two approaches you had mentioned, which is sort of cast your net wide, at least initially. And to figure out what you maybe even more importantly, what you don’t like to do, maybe that’s the most important part. Yeah. And find out you know, you’re you’re going to find out real quickly what types of clients you’d like to work with, and what types of areas and types of transactions that appeal to you, and which ones you’re like, Ah, I never want to do a lot of times, for example, back to investment, a lot of people like working with investors simply because they don’t necessarily always want to deal with the emotional side of you know, traditional buyer and seller behavior, they really would run to just a handle bar. But here’s Here are the numbers. Does this make sense? And the investor says yes or no, which tends to be easier. Dealing with emotions. However, the Yeah, the cycle time can be longer, a lot more can happen for people don’t necessarily have to live in those homes that are investors. So it can be a bit more challenging and complicated. But also just, you know, try things, see what you like and dislike, once you find out what your niche is, then sort of how do you I want to talk branding, because I know that you’re a branding person. So Dana, in 2021, it’s actually now 2021, tell us a little bit about branding, and maybe what agents could do to either to further their brand, or if they haven’t really ever focused on developing a brand, you know, and adding marketing to to fuel that brand. Maybe any sort of suggestions or thoughts you have would be awesome.
Dana Bull 27:03
Yeah, so I love the topic of branding. I think when a lot of people think about branding, it’s in terms of things like having logos and taglines and visual materials. And I definitely think that’s important. And I’ve been in marketing for about 10 years. And over the past 10 years, there’s just been this increase in different tools and technologies that you can use as an agent affordably in order to help brand yourself. So if you don’t work for a big agency that might provide some of those custom products there. There’s website building tools like Squarespace, where you can put together a really nice, you know, graphically attractive website for yourself easily and affordably. There are a page layout tools and design tools like Canva, that are relatively intuitive. Years ago, when I first got into this space, we just didn’t have access to these types of easy consumer products. And that just makes it really simple. I think if you’re an agent, kind of stepping back and looking at how you are presenting yourself, visually, you might be able to tackle some of that with those products. But kind of moving beyond that. And really, to me, I think branding is more about you know how you present yourself professionally. And I think there’s two areas that really come to mind when I talk about branding. And I think that’s about being consistent. And I also think it’s about setting a standard for yourself. And this is something that I’ve kind of been developing over the past couple of years. So you know, we often joke about the real estate agent that’s been using the same headshot for 20 years. Sure. Right. So that isn’t very consistent. I think it’s it’s clients expect something when maybe they’ve been speaking with you over the phone, or they’ve been reviewing your website and you’re going to meet with them at a listing for the first time. And I think you want that consistency in in how you present both, you know, online and in real life. So having that updated headshot kind of dressing the same way every time you see your clients. You know, the way that you communicate with them on the phone and via email. It’s it’s that’s something that it’s almost intangible, don’t you think? Sure. I’ve also learned that being a stickler for standards and really kind of figuring out what your own standards are as an individual. Like for me, Punctuality is huge. If I’m ever late to something that really, really bothers me. I Yeah, but I’m also a stickler for things like email, and communicating appropriately and professionally via email, which I think is something that some agents sort of dropped the ball on. But you know, maybe that’s, that’s not an area that you care about what you care about something else. And I think identifying those standards that you have. And being consistent about that. So your clients know what to expect.
D.J. Paris 30:27
I was on our I am on a marketing committee for a nonprofit. And in our committee, we went through it took almost a year, we went through a branding exercise, and we had actually the chair of our committee is a branding. This is what he does, he does branding for his, his his own business. And he works mostly with consumer Q CPG. products. And he said, Okay, what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about all the feelings that are associated with this particular brand, that that is this nonprofit. And I was like, yeah, yeah, let’s just get to the cool strategy of how do we present our product? And in this case, it’s a service, how do we present our service, you know, through marketing efforts? And he goes, No, no, that’s the easy part. The hard part is starting at the beginning. And so what we had to do was really sort of counterintuitive to me, counterintuitive to me, which was starting with, what are the feelings that I want associated with this brand? And more importantly, what are the feelings that are already associated with with my brand, with this brand? And what are the feelings? I want people to think about me? And who am I as an individual? Or who am I as a company? You know, what are my true values and, and so we took about that was about half of the year was about six months of us just going through and people don’t have, you know, real estate agents don’t necessarily have to spend that amount of time on it. But I think you’re right about standards is really starting to think about, you know, who are you as an individual? Are you somebody that’s really punctual? And if you are, is that important to you? And how can you, you know, what is your standard for punctuality? Well, if that’s part of the brand that you want to project out there, and of course, it seems like it would be for a lot of agents, then make sure that you know, you have a standard for yourself that says, on time is 10 minutes early, or whatever that is, and then you just have to abide by that one standard. But I also just wanted to touch real quickly on communication, because really, you’re talking about communication. And whether it’s, you know, physical communication, where you’re in somebody’s physical space, or it’s electronic communication or digital communication, social media. You’re absolutely right, or text messages. I think text messages is probably where a lot of agents don’t have a clearly defined standard or, or boundaries around how they communicate, how often how quickly, do they put punctuation at the end of their sentences? You know, these are things that like as as an agent, you really do have to think about is like, who are you as a brand? And then are you acting consistently with those with those values?
Dana Bull 33:00
Yes, yeah. And the texting thing is, is tough, right? Because the meaning behind what you text can so easily be misconstrued or misunderstood. But yeah, yeah, you actually raised a really interesting point with doing that deep dive about the feelings and the emotions that are associated with, with certain brands. And that is so important. And I think, with real estate, we’re really just kind of at the tip of the iceberg here. As you mentioned, at the beginning of the podcast, I work for Sotheby’s International Realty. And I think that our brand does that really, really well, where they lean into the lifestyle, and actually, as an agent, starting to think about homes, the homes that you’re selling, more, focusing on the lifestyle and less so about the features and benefits, you know, and if you can pitch that lifestyle, understand what it is that potential homebuyers want, and really making that connection. That’s an easier sell. So I think I think agents, you know, even going back 1015 years, it would be Well, let’s find a house that checks off all your boxes. And, you know, I would encourage you to go a little bit deeper than that. How is this house going to improve that buyers life? What you they want to be inspired by certain property? And that’s true across all budgets. So it doesn’t just need to be a luxury home for it to excite someone or you do need to pull out those emotions and the why why are people moving? Why are they coming to see this house right?
D.J. Paris 34:51
Yeah, knowing knowing your why as an agent about why you’re in this business and what you’re doing to you know, for your clients is important, but and more importantly is knowing the client’s why. And if you can know your clients why it helps make a lot of the more objective parts of the business. So that why is the subjective part, right. So this is what the client is wanting for their family for themselves. You know, there’s lots of emotions tied to these decisions. And then there’s all the objective parts. And so, you know, this comes into play when you have a seller, for example, who’s not willing to lower their price on their home. And yet, you as the agent go, I know, they absolutely need to lower this price. And if you’re just battling with them about this objective number, that may or may not work, but what you can, what you can do is go a bit deeper and say to that to that client, let’s let’s revisit your why why are you selling this property? Well, you know, you want to move your your children to a different school, you know, that has better education. Okay, well, you know, now, and then you can start to talk about getting back to the why, and then realizing maybe that, that price reduction isn’t as important as it just seems as a number, because now you’re getting into someone’s why.
Dana Bull 36:10
Right? And, and helping them envision what the future looks like. And the future might be held back by $5,000. And a list price, right? So kind of painting that picture and deciding what’s important and how important
D.J. Paris 36:29
but I want to go back to I want to just circle back to to Sotheby’s for a second because that’s such a, it’s such a great example of branding as as a as a company Sotheby’s everyone listening, who is familiar with the brand Sotheby’s which I assume most of our, our listeners and viewers are, you know, what, what words come to mind, you know, and you can just sort of say the silently or out loud to yourself, but, you know, when you hear Sotheby’s, you know, we think about, you know, luxury, we think about professional, right, they are very, very intentional with the the material they put out. Now, of course, there are huge companies, there’s lots of resources there. But they very intentionally created a brand to appeal number one to a specific kind of realtor who can who can serve clients who are attracted to that brand. Of course, every agent has their own brand within that larger brand. But you know, think about you know, what, if you’re working at a company, where you should talk to the company about what their branding is to maybe you work for a smaller firm, where there, there isn’t much thought about branding? Well, does that affect your business? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But you know, when you when you work at at at a firm that does have a specific brand, you know, how do you fit in within that brand? What materials are you sending out, that are complementing what the, the corporate is doing as well? Or are they in conflict or, and so, I think it’s really, really important to sit down and just sort of figure out, you know, what are the feelings? And and, and the reactions you want from clients who work with you, you know, and is that consistent with the company you work for? And then also with the communication that you’re, you know, that you’re putting out?
Dana Bull 38:09
Absolutely, and yeah, Sotheby’s certainly holds that sort of when people think of Sotheby’s, they think of excellence, they think of luxury, they think of an aspirational brand. And, you know, sometimes I have the this is, I mean, I guess a good problem to have, but people like, oh, you only do luxury. And that’s actually not true. You know, my team, I handle the marketing for my team. And we’ve sold everything from tiny little cozy condos, all the way up to multimillion dollar waterfront estates. And it’s that same level of service that and that’s all about the consistency, regardless of the price point. But yes, it’s it’s hard for the consumers, the buyers and sellers who Sotheby’s has done such a great job branding the company as luxury. Oh, well, you know, my condos. It’s an affordable condo, you know, you’re not the right brand for me, but it’s again, it’s not, it’s about the service, right. 100% You know, we have a process for how we handle listings. And that’s another part of, of your branding, too. I think when you’re articulating your value as an agent, what is it that you’re bringing to the table when you’re serving buyers and sellers and I almost in my head, kind of think of it for lack of a better term, but like a menu, you know, and this could be this could be a checklist in your head of Okay, so for my listings, I you know, create a custom property website. I my standard is high resolution photography across the board. I do not care if it’s an investment property, a luxury home and affordable home. That’s just the standard. And then every property got Send an email blast social media ads, you know, we pitch it to local press, we run advertisements, and you as an agent can kind of come up with your own set of offerings, and then figure out how to fill in those gaps if you need to.
D.J. Paris 40:16
And in addition to that, you know, we should also talk and that’s all just amazing stuff. So as an agent, let’s, you know, let’s think about what do we want to provide to our buyers? And sellers? What are the standards for service? And, you know, maybe you shouldn’t have a different standard, whether it’s a distressed property, you know, in other words, hey, you know what, I’m not going to spring for the professional photography here, because it’s a $50,000, you know, distressed property that is only going to net me a small commission. But what if another buyer or seller sees that non professional photography has a negative association now with your professionalism, if professional photography is important to that consumer and we live in, in, in a digital social world, where we’re only looking at professional photos, because everybody has filters on their phone? So you know, if you know, what is your standard for, for service, and this is the time to think about it, when when it’s a little colder, there’s probably fewer buyers and sellers, and this is the time to really evaluate, you know, what are this? And what are the standards for customer service? When am I going to return phone calls, texts and emails? How do I communicate that with my clients so that they understand my standards, and so that they’re not want, you know, so much of this job, I think is alleviating anxiety and making sure your clients aren’t sitting with too much fear as much as possible. But that all comes from having communication standards as well. And just making sure that they know when you’re going to reach them back, you know, what is your policy around that? And that’s branding as well? Are you going to start or end every email with thanks for reaching out or, Hey, you know, or end with hope you’re having a wonderful day. Sounds silly. But those kinds of things have an impact and in an accumulative way, they all add up.
Dana Bull 42:07
Yeah, and especially even, like you said, having a email, opening sentence or closing sentence that you use all the time, when you’re in the middle of a transaction with a client and things are going awry, it’s almost comforting sometimes to receive just that. Oh, okay. You know, this is this is what we’re used to, everything’s fine. I think that clients sometimes find that comforting, especially just staying consistent, regardless of what the situation is. And also, you know, one, one other thing that I have learned over the past couple of years, is, it’s not just about you, it’s about your team, it’s about the people that you are referring your business to a part of the process, and also kind of outside of real estate, but in complementary fields, right. Like, if you have attorneys or tax professionals that may coincide with real estate, or with wealth building that you’re recommending, you know, I think it’s imperative to find people that are committed to excellence in the same way that you are, have your similar standards. And it’s also a bonus if you can find people that are similar in terms of their personality, or business style as you are. And that’s really tough to do. But, you know, I think your clients are working with you, because they like you. And then when you niche down, you start attracting those, the clients that you want to work with. And then the reason they’re working with you is because they like the way you conduct yourself professionally. And it only makes sense that when you’re bringing on complementary or recommending complimentary people that though they’re a reflection of you, and again, that consistency is key. So but that is hard. Oh, for sure. It’s really hard to build up your your book of service providers. You know, they dropped the ball one time and then you’re you’re pulling your hair like can I keep recommending them? Or are they? Are they not the right fit anymore? But yeah, that is I think one of the hardest areas in this industry is building those connections.
D.J. Paris 44:26
Yeah, and it’s so important because agents, at least a lot of the agents I’ve had and probably every agent I’ve had on the show has said they want to be the person that their clients come to with any thing tangentially related to real estate. So whether it’s, Hey, I need a contractor or you know, I need somebody to a plumber or anything that’s related to real estate, I need a lender or an accountant or an attorney or financial advisor etc. And so this is the time to think about what your brand is and now reach out to those to the several service providers in each one of those categories and say, hey, you know, I’m looking to add somebody to my professional team here. And I want to tell you a little bit about how I conduct my business. And here’s what I do. And here’s, you know, the kinds of people I might be able to send your way. I would love to know a little bit about your, your standards, you know, how, and I maybe wouldn’t use that word, but tell me about, can I talk to some of your clients, you know, even and start to get a sense, as Dana just said, of who’s a good fit, who seems to treat their clients in the same manner and has it with a similar personality as you and that boy that you’re so right, that that is so important, and and holding them accountable for that is absolutely okay. Making sure that those those providers are because, of course, it does reflect poorly on your brand. If somebody drops the ball and, and you know, and that happens, too, but so always kind of evaluating and reevaluating those connections. So that, you know, when you’re referring people out, that you’re confident that they’re going to do a great job for the client. And it’s
Dana Bull 46:02
funny that you brought up the point about agents wanting to be the hub for all real estate issues, concerns, problems, solutions. And I’m almost embarrassed to admit that when I started my career after the closing was finished, I don’t know I would get Yeah, I mean, in my head, I’ve kind of you know, it’s you lose the momentum, right? When you’re, you’re working with new clients, and then your old clients crop up, and they’re like, hey, my sink is like leaking. Do you have any recommendations? And it’s like, oh, my gosh, but I have tweaked my mindset, I’ve done a complete 180 on that. And now I’m like, bring it you know, bring your questions to me, I am happy to answer those because it’s a compliment. It means that when they think real estate, they’re thinking about you. And that’s what you want. And then also, you know, I will chat real estate with anybody, anytime, because what I’ve learned is, the more conversations I have, the more deals that I do. It’s that simple. And especially in real estate, where hey, just because they’re not a good fit for you. And for your niche, that doesn’t mean that you can’t capture them, and refer them. And it might not be a straight line like that. But at some point, they might have a friend that’s in you’re looking for something that’s in your wheelhouse, or, you know, business may indirectly turn out from that. So yes, I will. And I’m sure there’s there’s agents listening to this podcast that are thinking, yeah, I get so annoyed when people call me or text me about like, a leaky toilet after they just bought a million dollar house. But don’t Don’t be annoyed. Don’t make that mistake.
D.J. Paris 47:50
Yeah, it’s it’s such so important to realize that after the sale is probably in some ways even more important because I, my father, or my parents sold, they had an investment property in a while it was just a second home in a condo in Myrtle Beach. And it took years to sell it because they bought it at the height of the market, I think in 2005, or six, and then everything collapsed. And they held on to it. And it was wonderful for us to use for many, many years. But they finally were trying to sell it and it took like three or four years, it was so much inventory. And it took many different agents, and eventually somebody was able to sell it. And, you know, I mean, I can’t even tell you what a big deal. This was for our family. It was just this this constant stress, I’m sure. And so eventually, they found somebody that you know, got it sold. And I, I kind of forgotten about it. And then about six months later, I’d asked my dad, I said, Oh, I think maybe a referral had come into our office for somebody who’s in that area. And I thought, Oh, I’ll ask my dad because he was really happy with the person after who had sold the property. And the agent. And I said to my dad, who was the agent, he goes, I don’t remember, I’d have to go back through my emails. And I went, my dad is like a super on top of it person. And he was so grateful to this agent, he liked the agent, and he couldn’t remember their name about six months later. And I thought, Boy, what a shame. And he you know, we looked it up and it was fine. But but it happens so often. And don’t let that happen. You know, to anyone listening, you don’t want that to happen because my parents liked this agent and couldn’t remember their name. And you know, again, the agent might have thought, Oh, these people live in Peoria, Illinois. They’re never going to have another referral for you know, for Myrtle Beach. Well, yeah, that’s true, but I needed a referral. So and we eventually figured it out. But you know, there’s ways to stay in touch maybe calling people on their and their home selling anniversary or home buying anniversary and just saying, Hey, I was thinking about you was, you know, three years ago today that you bought this home and I just wanted to say happy three year anniversary or whatever. That’s a simple, easy way to stay in touch that anybody can do and cost $0
Dana Bull 49:55
Yeah, and there’s, there’s so many ways to stay in touch with people But it is hard sometimes you’re you’re racking your brain, you’re like What else, I need an excuse to reach out right to stay in touch to say in front of people. I think that, you know, if you read books like The million dollar agent, or if you read ninja selling, they’re all going to harp on the the proven studied methods have have, you need to reach out to people eight times or have 12 touch points or whatever whatever the metric is. And that’s a lot. So there’s, there’s a few tactics that I use. And I would say that I’m I’m about quality over quantity, when it comes to actually serving clients, because again, I only take on a very select few clients. And some of the tactics that I use are I, I send out an annual review every year. And I’ve got it down kind of to a science. So this is on in the month, that it would have been their their purchase anniversary, just to cover trends that are going on, if they want to meet and talk about some of the upgrades that they just did. And everybody’s always doing upgrades. And I’m usually aware of them, because they will reach out to me for contractors, and kind of revealing what they did and what the new value may be, or that sort of thing. So that’s a great way to get in touch with people. I also think it’s super helpful to give people a snapshot of their property value over the course of time. So I like to go back 20 years and say, This is what your what your house is worth. And just so you understand the market trends, you know, this is what it looked like in 2008. And kind of show them Look, people it’s fresh in their minds, the last recession, so they want to see how much their property has appreciated since then. That’s a really interesting way to kind of grab people’s attention. Every year, I don’t just send out a Happy New Year’s card, I actually put together a magazine. I love that. So I used to have to create those myself using a platform like InDesign, which are cumbersome. You know, you can do that. Fortunately, my company just made something available where we can do those nice print outs and spreads. But I just do a write up about my predictions for the new year. You know, I include recent sales, I include some statistics, and I send that out each year as a way to just kind of reinvigorate the conversation about real estate. And I always include a hand written note. So you take for ever, I mean, it takes me like two straight weeks now more three weeks to go through all my clients and put together everything, but the returns are huge.
D.J. Paris 52:58
I’m curious, you know, so you send out the physical document, the physical magazine, with with, you know, some sort of personal note attached to it. Just out of curiosity, you send that out in January, I’m guessing or at the end of the year or Yeah,
Dana Bull 53:10
so I start working on it mid December. And yeah, mid December, and like, I just dropped them in the mail today. So people should be getting them tomorrow and, and the next day. So almost the end of January.
D.J. Paris 53:25
Well, but that’s how long it takes and I’m curious is is is the return and again, you’re not doing it to get a return. But it does naturally happen by you know, like you said, reinvigorating people’s interest in real estate and also remembering that you’re the person. And so that does both of those things, and also shows that you care, because you didn’t just throw a Happy New Year card in the mail with, you know, printed somewhere without, you know, any sort of personalized, you know, note, you wrote a note on top of this wonderful magazine. I’m curious how quickly on average, do you do? You know, you probably do get calls probably pretty soon after that, because people are like, oh, you know what this triggered yet where I’m thinking of making the switch, you know, to upgrade or moving or whatever. I imagine you get a lot of those calls, probably within a few months of sending those out.
Dana Bull 54:15
Oh, I mean, usually I’ll get texts like the next the next week. But it This is certainly tied to my sphere and the stage of life that we’re in. It’s so easy writing these notes. I mean, everybody’s it’s it’s an exciting time. Everybody’s having babies. Everybody’s got I’m going to I’m invited to 20 Weddings this year. Oh, my goodness. Yes. I’m in a bunch of them. And so there’s a lot going on, and there’s a lot to talk about. And whenever we have these big life events, buying or selling real estate is usually wrapped up in that too. So it’s a very natural kind of conversation to have. But yeah, it’s just an exciting time and and people are excited and excited about real estate. So But yeah, it’s, it’s a lot of effort. But for me, I could do basically no marketing. But if I just do that one thing, you know, to stay in front of people, it’s, it’s that powerful. I am in marketing, I can’t remember, I already mentioned this, I’m terrible at social media, I don’t like it, I am not good at being tied to my phone like that I don’t want to be, but I am on Instagram to a stay relevant. You know, be, I do like to see what’s going on with my friends. I like family. And I like to see the pictures, but it’s also you know, I follow my clients, and I like to keep keep in touch that way. So, you know, I, as an agent, I wouldn’t be intimidated by all I gotta get on Instagram, and I have to get a bunch of followers and, you know, be asleep to it. And it’s like, sure if if you can go down that that path, right. And there is a lot of opportunity with social media in that regard. But if you just want to keep it super simple, follow your clients, follow your close friends, interject some some real estate stuff there. But but mostly just kind of do it to stay in touch. That’s a good strategy.
D.J. Paris 56:17
Yeah, I want to I want to tack on to that. If if for because there’s a lot of us that are like, well, if I’m new to the industry, I don’t have the resources time or money maybe to put together this this magazine to with my predictions. Yes, I and we get the question we get at our brokerage a lot, a lot here. And we have about 700 agents that our firm is what do I post on social media? So if I’m not, you know, I’m not doing a physical magazine, but I’m doing a constantly posting, you know, what do I post and my suggestion is always it’s maybe not as important what you post, although you should be posting, you know, at some sort of regular intervals. But what I think is maybe more important, and again, this goes back to the the brand that an agent wants to project is, you know, social media is is and Dana just said it perfectly is really a research and development tool, because it tells you what’s going on in your clients lives. And if nothing else, all you really have to do is comment on their posts. And you can just like things comment and say, wow, you know, great vacation, or that dinner looked amazing or no mean in a genuine way, you’d want to respond genuinely because, boy, I don’t know about Dane, I know you’re not a huge social media person. But and I’m not either. But I look at every comment that anyone writes about anything I post. And it makes me feel good. When people take the time to go, Hey, that was really cool, or that was funny, or whatever it might be. And that is 100%. Free. It’s not something that you have to wrack your brain to do. But if you can consistently for you know, 10 to 15 minutes a day, jump on. And just again, you’re following your clients comment, you don’t have to come on and everything but comment on a few things. Or if it’s even something really significant, like there’s a birth of a child or somebody’s got a new job. And by the way, LinkedIn will tell you when people get new jobs, and when they celebrate work anniversaries for you know, you just go into your LinkedIn feed, and it tells you what a great reason to even pick up the phone and reach out and say, oh my gosh, I just saw that you celebrated eight years at your company. You know, that’s a big deal. Like congratulations. I just wanted to let you know, I was thinking about you that, you know, that’s branding, right branding is if it’s important to you that your clients feel that you care about them, then you better care about them, which means you better be paying attention to their lives. And social media is the maybe the easiest way to do that.
Dana Bull 58:35
Yeah, yeah, actually, that’s a really good idea about about LinkedIn. And you know, it’s, it’s work for some people for other people. This comes so naturally so people like why wouldn’t you just be on Instagram? It’s so easy. I am. I’m actually an introvert. Most people would disagree because I don’t I don’t come off that way. But you know, I’m totally contentedness work from home environment. And I’m fine not not talking to anybody all day. It’s an interesting career path that I chose considering that but so it is kind of work for me to to, to kind of go down the rabbit hole of social media sometimes. Sure. But yeah, so if that’s not your thing, that’s okay. Like I’m here to say that is okay. Figure out what your thing is, figure out your brand. Know that you’re you’re going to be missing out on opportunity, but you can accept that. Right?
D.J. Paris 59:30
Right. And I’ll also say too, is back to this sort of what you’re what you’re supposed to post like don’t worry as much about what you’re what you’re posting, worry about the interactions or don’t worry, but think about how you can interact with your clients through social media and celebrate the things that they’re celebrating along with them. If that’s all you do, and you never post on social media, you will be still at the front of your clients mind because you care and you’re demonstrating that and again it goes back to what you want your brand to be. I know plenty of people introverts, we I talked to a lot of introverts who are on the show, who have become incredibly successful going, you know, I’m not an extroverted person, I don’t like projecting my entire life in particular on social media, that’s, that, that bumps up against some privacy and boundary boundaries I have. And, but what they do is they, they deepen the relationships by by participating in their clients lives. And, and that’s so you know, I always think, don’t focus so much on what you’re posting focus and much on, on how you’re interacting.
Dana Bull 1:00:29
Yeah, I love that. And it is a good way to keep in touch with the big life events. So, you know, another another part of my brand is, is I, when something great happens, like somebody has a baby or somebody gets married, I always send a gift. And I know, some people might think that that’s a little bit crazy, but something special, something unique, right? And I think that that stands out, I want to do it to you know, I think it’s exciting when, when these things happen. And it’s it’s takes very little time and effort to just pop something in the mail. With a nice note.
D.J. Paris 1:01:10
Yeah, 100%. And just just, you know, this idea of, you know, the, the gift itself is a lot less important than just remembering and celebrating with them. And whatever amount or type of gift or recognition you want to do is, is probably more than other professionals in their sphere, who are connected to them are doing. I know that during the pandemic, I was, I’ve said this on the show before, but just in case anyone didn’t hear I was sort of paying attention to see, out of all the professionals that are in my sphere of people I hire, to, you know, my accountant, my dentist, my person who cuts my hair and all of those things. I was just curious, like, I wonder who’s going to reach out to ask how I’m doing. I was in we don’t necessary, I wasn’t expecting anyone to I was just kind of interested to see who would and visit your dentist? Was it your dad? No, it was my the person who cuts my hair. And no, see my dentist I go in every six months, this probably doesn’t really have to, like clockwork, I never missed. But But again, and I wasn’t expecting anybody to do it. And I certainly am not. There’s no punishment for people who didn’t. But I was so touched that the person who probably gets paid, one of the least amounts that I pay out is for my haircut. And as far as all the different service providers I use, that was the one person who did and now I already have a wonderful relationship with her but but I thought you know, all those other people could have reached out I mean, the pandemic, you know, it’s still going on, they can still reach out. And again, I know it’s it’s cumbersome, it’s difficult, even if it’s just a text message. You know, there’s lots of ways to demonstrate that you care and and really think about, you know, your brand, and there’s so many tools online that will help buyers and sellers without you, right, there’s Zillow, there’s truly others realtor.com There’s all sorts of of calculators and you know, AI assistants, but those have a hard time demonstrating care and kit and and sort of consideration, right, they just, they’re very good at those tools. Well, that gives you the opportunity to fill that need. And if you do that you’ll never lose a client to another agent or not never, but you’re unlikely to lose clients to to someone else or to or to just a non human, you know, system.
Dana Bull 1:03:31
Yeah, real estate is deeply personal, and also deeply strategic. And that just can’t be replicated. Right now with with AI or technology.
D.J. Paris 1:03:43
Yeah, well, I agree it hopefully, hopefully they don’t figure that part of it out. But for now, it you know, it’s funny, I will mention this one, this is like what I do all day is I recruit realtors that that’s my job. And so we were actually talking about this this morning, we were talking about with my team, how we would go about recruiting and what we’ve always done in the past is just basically call people that we call them and you know, offer them the opportunity to chat with us. And if they’re not interested, no big deal. And that’s really all that we’ve ever done. And we’ve sent emails before but we don’t really do that anymore. So all we do is these phone calls. And we started thinking about what are better ways and so I’m taking my own advice. And we are now going to start following lots of people that we would be interested in recruiting at our company as agents and we’re going to be participating in commenting on their social media, you know, pics profile, you know, their business pages, anytime they have success. Our team is going to be calling them say hey, we just saw this you closed a big listing, that’s awesome, you know, things like that. You know, we’re actually taking this ourselves because we want to be the brand and our company that that shows that we care about agents. And we’re hoping that we care just a little bit more than their current firm, which is maybe what give them the reason to move over. So I am actually doing this exact same thing myself with respect to social media. So, so again, you want to follow your clients, as Dana said, of course, participate with them. And then you know, anything outside of social media, because if social media isn’t your thing, great, find other ways to do that writing just a handwritten note, like Dana does with, you know, with her her their annual sort of review, when that magazine is nobody even does that anymore. Like, that’s a huge, huge thing. I imagine that probably even goes further than the cool magazine that you put together.
Dana Bull 1:05:31
Yeah, I think they both I think they both get a good reaction. Yeah. What one other tip that I’ve picked up, since I mainly became a referral agent is I place a lot of importance on communicating, keeping whoever made the referral, super informed, like overly informed. So for instance, somebody refers me a client, you know, maybe that was a former client sends me a friend. And kind of every step of the way, I make sure that you know, first thank you so much, I had a great conversation with with your friend, and he’s already you know, I recommended a bunch of lenders for him to speak with for pre approval, you know, the next stage. Hey, guess what we went out this weekend, we saw a bunch of homes didn’t find one yet, but I’ll keep you posted. You know, they’d go and say get something under agreement, another tax or whatever, and just kind of keeping them involved, because that makes them feel good. Like, Oh, I did a good job. Putting putting this connection in place, and also doing that with other agents. Yeah, so if an agent refers you, business or this can be one of your your professional vendors, or anybody, literally anybody, just keeping them informed along the way, and kind of sharing the success with them as you go through the process is that’s the standard that I have.
D.J. Paris 1:07:05
I love it, and what what a great place to wrap up. Because for everyone who is listening, you know, if you are an agent, and you do have a referral that is in a different part of the country, you know, Dana’s is in the Massachusetts area, however, she refers business all over the country as well. But if you’re looking for, for an agent to refer business to, or that can, you know, help refer business, Dana is an awesome resource for that. And or if you’re just a buyer or a seller in the Massachusetts, you know, area that is looking up, Dana can help you, she will refer you to someone that is amazing as well, because she’s taken the time to put that network together. But if there is anyone, if there’s anyone out there that is looking to work with you, or your team, or a referral, what’s the best way they should reach out to you?
Dana Bull 1:07:51
So my website is pretty much up to date. Dana bowl realtor.com. And I am on Instagram, if you want to, you know, see pictures of my kids. And a few real estate photos in there, you can reach out to me there
D.J. Paris 1:08:06
on Instagram. And what’s your Instagram?
Dana Bull 1:08:08
Oh, Dana, very creative Dana bull realtor,
D.J. Paris 1:08:11
easy to find. So, so everyone and I also want everyone to look at Dana’s website which is trainable realtor.com Which again, same for Instagram at stainable realtor. But Dana will realtor.com is a really it’s again, it’s it’s a very intentional website. And I want you to go through that and take a look at it and see what the branding is that she has put into her business along with the help of course, of her company of Sotheby’s, but boy, it is so intentional, and so very professional. And really highlights and gives gives the visitor to that website an idea of who she is what she provides. And, you know, you can do that too. This is the year if you need to update your website. You know, there’s so many resources now as Dana mentioned, Squarespace can can do a lot of it for you or you can hire people from all over the world now to help you you know, with WordPress and all sorts of other orders somebody local that can do it. But um, make sure that your website reflects your brand, because people are going to look at it, you know, even the referrals that come to you that are going to work with you are going to take a look at your at your online presence and they want to see that you know, your brand is consistent with what they’re looking for. So anyway, great opportunity. So everyone check out dateable realtor.com. Also, if you’re a buyer or seller, investor, renter who is you know, looking to work with with an agent or reach out to Dana, you can do that right through her website. Dana also, do you mind providing your email address if anyone wants to reach out?
Dana Bull 1:09:43
Sure it’s Dana dot ball at Sotheby’s realty.com. And you just reminded me of one thing since we started the first part of this podcast I mentioned Squarespace and actually in the last couple of weeks, I think that they are going to be coming out with an IDX integration for for all listings? Yes, so my website, I built my own website on WordPress. And that’s cumbersome to say the least. But I build many websites on Squarespace. And I’m really excited if they start to roll out this option for us agents. I’ve been waiting for it for years. So
D.J. Paris 1:10:18
and I want to so I know we were wrapping up. I want to make a quick comment about this because I we’ve wrestled with this with our own company for years and years, and I had to fight the owner, which we never ever fight, but we finally we finally understand each other. So what Dana is referencing with IDX is a data fee that will connect to your local MLS and feed in the ability for people to search for properties. It’s really no different than what Zillow does. Well. Zillow does it a bit differently, but same idea, right? And so for years, the argument that my our owner would say and he was not wrong, was nobody really needs our corporate website or this case for everyone listening your own individual agent website. Nobody needs that to be able to search for properties. And he’s right, because of course Zillow, Trulia, realtor has a million places people can look for properties. But that’s not the reason to, to to not consider it for your website. The reason to consider it is it makes you look professional, right? Whether somebody ever uses your search engine or not, is not really the point. The point is, does if somebody visits your website, you don’t want them to have to leave your website to then go to Zillow or Trulia or any of the other websites. So is it going to be a massive lead generator, maybe probably not, unless you’re doing a lot of SEO, but what you at least will have is the ability for somebody to do that. So if you have a WordPress website, there’s a million different plugins for IDX, you pay like a subscription fee for that. Although with Squarespace, that is awesome news, because they’ll just integrate it with their entire system, and, you know, probably have some nominal fee for it. But it’s not expensive. And again, don’t look at as a lead generator, look at it as hey, I’m a professional. So I should have the ability to do professional things, other than just hey, here’s my online business card. So that’s just my own two cents on that. And Dana, you might have a different opinion. But I was just curious on your your thoughts on that?
Dana Bull 1:12:08
Yeah, I agree with you. 100% I’ve been wrestling with with IDX for years. And I think it’s important to have on your website as a real estate agent, but you’re never going to be able to compete with the tech giants. You just you cannot compete with Zillow realtor.com. But I have a couple of websites. And I do have basically like some online some just some splash page, business card like website. And I think for a new agent, you know, just get some momentum going. Get a website up there. And just it’s I mean, we’re talking about a couple $100 to just get get up and running something that looks good. But yeah, it’s not a complete solution without without IDX. In my mind. That’s a good thing.
D.J. Paris 1:13:02
It’s a good thing to think about for this year. And again, it’s not going to radically change anything other than maybe perception. And oh, that’s cool, I can look for things. Is it 100%? Necessary? No, I mean, we have it on our corporate website, we hardly get any leads through it. But at least I was tired of answering questions when agents would call me and go, How come you don’t have the ability to search for properties on your, on your website? I said, you know, the perception of that, for as a company is certainly not great. So so as an individual agent, you have a bit more leeway. But I would consider upgrading. I mean, even if you have a WordPress site, you know, it might be an extra 20 $20 a month. Are you going to get an easy return on that investment? Probably not. It’s yeah, yeah. Think about it as Is that is that you know, how important is it to your clients? Well, it’s taken live without it, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Right. And I think as you have more income to put into your branding, that’s not an opportunity to think about, right. But anyway, great place to wrap up. I could talk to Dana all day. And in fact, we had to we didn’t. I already have talked about this in the intro. But we appreciate Dana coming back because we had a glitch and she is so generous with your time. We love having her on the show. Dana, thank you so much. I will not keep you any longer because you’ve spent more time than any guests we’ve ever had on the show. Thank you. Thank you. Thank
Dana Bull 1:14:26
you hope it was worth it.
D.J. Paris 1:14:28
Oh, it was so worth it. And I could have you on every month talking about branding. But I will let you get back to your running your your team and doing all of the things you do. So everyone who is listening thank you for continuing to support our show. Please tell a friend think of one other agent that is you know struggling with marketing and branding send them a link to this episode. You can find it right on our website, keeping it real pod.com. And also, any podcast app just pull it up search for keeping it real and it will show up so Dana, thank you so much. And we will see everyone on the next episode.
Dana Bull 1:14:59
Thanks CJ. Bye