Joanne Bolt from Bolt Group with eXp talks about the start of her career in real estate and how she built her business by studying market data to predict future moves. Joanne reveals why she chose to start coaching agents full time and move out of production. She also discusses her three methods of referral (sphere of influence, agent-to-agent referral and reputational referral) and describes how an agent can utilize them.
If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!
Joanne Bolt can be reached at 770-285-0668.
D.J. Paris 0:00
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real, the largest podcasts made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Parris. I’m your guide and host through the show and in just a moment, we’re going to be speaking with Joanne bolt from the bolt group of EXP. Before we get to Joanne just a couple of quick reminders. First, thank you for continuing to listen and support our show. If you want to help us grow, just tell a friend think of one other real estate agent that could benefit from hearing interviews from top producers like Joanne and send them a link. Easiest way to do that, send them to our website, keeping it real pod.com They can stream every episode we’ve ever done. I think we are over 250 episodes now, right from the website. They don’t even need to use a podcast app or they can always just pull up any podcast app, search for keeping it real and subscribe. And one other thing Please also remember that we do have these 250 episodes and you can go back and listen to all of them at any time. For anything that really appeals to you to help you in your business. Our intention is to create a timeless library of information. So don’t hesitate to go back and listen to shows even that we did years ago. There’s so much great information in there from these top producers who are so generous and sharing their exact strategies for how they became successful. And now on to our interview with Joanne bolt.
Okay, today on the show, we have Joanne bolt from the bolt Group Realty exp in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Let me tell you a little bit about Joanne in 2003 Joanne bolts started her real estate career at the age of 24. Her very first team leader told her that to be successful she needed to do three things, learn scripts, call expired listings and fizz bows for three hours every day and walk neighborhoods. She laughed in his face said no way and started building her database from the people she knew who they knew and her local community. She closed 10 million in her first year absolutely incredible and never looked back to this day. She’s never made a cold call, never used a formal presentation in a listing appointment or has never asked for a referral. She lives by the golden rule of Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Last year, her team closed over 50 million in the midst of a pandemic. And now she’s 100% out of production and solely runs her business and her team, please visit Joanne at our website, which is bolt group realty.com. And also please follow her on Instagram, which is at its Joan, Joan. It’s Joanne bolts. Sorry, it’s Joanne bolt. So Instagram again, it’s Joanne bolt, where she does a lot of great content there specifically for other realtors. And by the way, if you’re a realtor in the Atlanta area, and are looking for a team, you know, to join or to grow, and also to get really great coaching, Joanne is the person to reach out to so Joanne, welcome to the show.
Joanne Bolt 4:05
Thanks for having me. It’s gonna be fun.
D.J. Paris 4:08
I am super excited to chat with you. And I mean, we said a lot to hear in the intro. But I was just thinking, you know, as I was reading that, and I’ve never myself been into production. I just recruit Realtors all day long. So I don’t really know what it’s like to be out there. And I’m 44 now and I was thinking even at 44 You were 24 when you start out what I’m 44 and and I if I were to start production, I would I wouldn’t. I mean I would want to work by referral. And of course, you know, that would be the best way to generate business. But boy, you know, that’s a scary proposition. And I can’t even imagine how terrifying it would be at 24 when pretty much most of your friends aren’t buying and selling homes I’m guessing. So tell us first I’d love to know why you got into real estate and how you got in and then how you grew a business at that young of age and having an amazing first year like that is really impressive.
Joanne Bolt 5:00
Yeah, so it’s kind of interesting. The story, I guess, um, I started out after college as a consultant for Accenture consulting, and I’m all across the country. And I got married with the guy I’ve been dating for several years. And he was a salesperson who was never home. And about a year, I wouldn’t even say a year, maybe eight months into the, into the marriage, we’d look to each other and realize, all of our date nights were in the Delta crown room, and Atlanta airport, right, as I was coming in, and he was going out. And you know, we had never even unpacked the dishes that we’ve been given as wedding gifts, because we were never at home at the same time.
D.J. Paris 5:40
You were doing that consultant Monday to Thursday or Monday to Friday, fly out,
Joanne Bolt 5:45
or I would fly out Sunday through Thursday, you know, coming in and go in. And it was, I mean, it was super fun when you’re in your early 20s to be traveling all these places. But when we realize that, yeah, I don’t know why we even bothered to buy a house. We were never there. We didn’t unpack anything, you know, Crown rim date nights. And, and I was I was on one of my projects Michigan and the partner, because they have, you know, like sales associates and junior Associates, and then partner levels at Accenture. And I’m just like little bitty barely made the consultant level at Accenture and my partner said, was just joking that she, you know, she had a four year old and he had a birthday coming up. And she said, Oh, I guess we’ll figure out a time to give him a birthday party. And she started looking at her calendar. She’s like, in three months from now. Wow. I mean, I was like, 2223, I wasn’t even thinking about kids. And I said, Well, when’s his actual birthday? And she’s like, Oh, two weeks ago, we celebrated on time, I’m never home. And I looked at her and I was like, You mean, you’re never home? And she does? Well, it doesn’t really matter. I mean, it’s not like he knows the difference. I literally I went home that night, when I packed myself, you know, all my stuff in the hotel to come home for the weekend, I went ahead and canceled all my other flights. And so I’m not going back. I don’t know where my marriage is going to lead in terms of kids and family. But I know that if we have kids, that is not the goal for me. And I didn’t, you know, and I called my husband. And I said, and if I’m not going to aspire to be a partner at Accenture consulting, then I’m wasting my time. You know, working all these crazy hours. They called us road warriors because we were never home. And he was like, well, we we just got married and bought a house. Like how are you going to quit your job? And I was like, I don’t know, I’ll figure it out. So in the airport, I started looking at like real estate schools. Because I thought, Well, what else can you get into super super fast while I figure out what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. And so for me, real estate was just something to do while I figured out what my big girl job was going to be sure that was 20 years ago, and I’m still doing
D.J. Paris 7:54
that’s amazing. I got
Joanne Bolt 7:55
into real estate my dad had bought and sold homes growing up. And so when I panicked and thought I got to have a job. I thought, Okay, I’ll try this real estate thing for a while and just ended up loving it.
D.J. Paris 8:06
I you know, I’m so I’m always so impressed with consultants who switched to real estate because I think that skill set of, you know, maybe what you learned as a consultant really so easily translates so well translates
Joanne Bolt 8:19
over more than anyone imagines, it’s going to because you have to learn to adapt, adapt, quickly, talk in the language of the client that you’re speaking to, and I don’t mean languages in like Spanish or English, you know, or Russian or whatever. I mean, like, if you lean forward a lot, I need to lean forward a lot. If you talk very slow, I need to talk very slow. You know, it’s meeting the person where they are in terms of how they’re thinking, you got to adapt to that as a consultant. And it’s the same thing in real estate.
D.J. Paris 8:47
Yeah, so let’s go back. So now you’re 2324 you’re starting in real estate, still trying to figure out what you want to do. The problem is, well, it’s a problem for any new real estate agent, but especially for a younger person in the early 20s. As leads, like, how do you generate and so yes, the tried and trued approach, you know, back then, and even still that a lot of places now is here’s buy some fizz bows expireds pounding the phones get screamed at by everyone on the phone for a couple hours every day, and maybe you’ll get a lead. And so how did you you work? You obviously working by referral is how, you know how you built your business. But how did you do that at such an early age? What were what were some of the things that worked for you.
Joanne Bolt 9:29
Um, you know, and here’s, you know, when you really really if you know anything about the Atlanta market, or the Atlanta area, I grew up in Marietta, my husband and I when we got married, moved to Swanee. So we’re talking about a 20 mile difference, but about a two hour drive difference. Wow. Although we know when I first joined my broker said, Oh my gosh, this is perfect. You’re an Atlanta native like nobody’s an Atlanta native. You can call your sphere and I thought, no, I really can’t because they would you know, They think I’m nuts to move out here to Swanee, Gwinnett County, I left Cobb County. And so my grouping of people I would have naturally called really didn’t exist. It was like I had moved states. Wow. And I like to tell that because I get a lot of agents who say, Well, I don’t really know anyone, I don’t have a sphere. Well, I didn’t really either. Um, but I knew I wasn’t gonna get on the phone every day and you know, call expires because that was just a horrifying to me. I think I tried it for all of two weeks, maybe. And I made two dials the entire time. Like, I just sat there and looked at the phone and looked at the phone and I pick it up, I put it back down and pick it up and put it back down. I thought no, this isn’t, you know, this is not going to be who I am. Sure. So instead, I started, I picked out the local areas that I could go kind of hot, or, you know, stock, if you want to say it that way. I picked out a coffee shop, I picked out a local restaurant that I went out, we went every Friday night to a place around the corner, we’d have drinks, you know, and we got to know everyone and I was very consistent in what I did. You know, if I was gonna go to XYZ coffee shop on Monday morning, I did it every Monday morning, because a lot of the locals are going to consistently come in, and I got to know the coffee shop owner. So we would talk a lot. And I would you know, I wouldn’t walk around with a Starbucks coffee cup in my hand, as I went around town on the other days, I only walked around with my coffee cup from this little coffee shop, it’s, you know, it didn’t make it through COVID. So it’s not here anymore. But I was just I kind of self branded the places in my area for them. And because of that they promoted me like crazy.
D.J. Paris 11:39
Oh, that’s, that’s really, really smart. So you’re basically
Joanne Bolt 11:42
hyper local agent before that was a thing.
D.J. Paris 11:45
Yeah, well, you were doing a couple of things. So it’s funny, and I think there’s such a huge opportunity here, you just said something very, very profound. And and it’s something that’s that a lot of baby real estate agents don’t really think about. So you have all these small businesses, which by the way, of course, sadly, you know, the to hear the fate of that coffee shop is very, very sad. And a lot of small businesses, you know, especially in in food service, of course, experiencing that right now. But in general, all you know, small businesses are always getting cold calls from advertisers who want them to spend money, whether it’s television, or digital advertising, or billboards or whatever. It’s like, hey, we want to promote you, here’s what it costs newspapers, etc, Joanne’s, like I’ve just walk around town promoting your brand, because I like your coffee. And so what you’re really doing is you’re providing value first. And and I know that you probably didn’t go in and say I’m gonna walk around and show you a cup of coffee to every but I don’t maybe you did say that. But but the point is that you did that for free. And as just because you like that shop. And as a result of like the law of reciprocity. At some point, that owner is like, Hey, this is a, I’ve got somebody who’s really going out and promoting my brand and obviously wants to help you grow yours. I mean, they loved
Joanne Bolt 12:57
me because I got to talk to them every Monday morning. But I was also you know, when I started realizing that that was a good, you know, a good idea, I got very, very targeted as well. And I knew this from my marketing days, I looked around, I looked at everything like a bull’s eye, you know, you’ve got the center of your bull’s eye and those the people that know you love you trust you and are definitely going to use you, right, and you’ve got the next ring out. And those are the people that kind of know those, you know, the bullseye people, and then you’ve got that third ring, and those are ones that you’ve never met and they’ve never met your sphere. And those are the ones I’m always hunting. Right, right. And if I go back my Bullseye theory, I looked at marketing the same way. If I want to sell in a specific neighborhood, what is the feeder neighborhood that most people move out of to move into this one neighborhood? Yes. And if you’re moving out of this neighborhood, where are you more likely to go? And what I really figured out was, you know, and a lot of agents will start out in like the high school. Well, I looked at okay, no, go go into the the elementary schools. So if you’ve got a $250,000 subdivision in an elementary school, most likely those people aren’t going to financially be able to afford the next bigger jump up, which is 600 or 550 until the kids are probably in middle or high school make sense to go to the next price point in something that, you know, would feed out of that elementary school and go into that middle or high school. And I went and picked my coffee shops and my local bars and my eateries in those areas too. Because then I figured now if I’ve got a for sale sign in subdivision a and they’re moving out and they are looking at one of the subdivisions I’ve targeted for the highest, you know for the school bull’s eye, they’re gonna see another For Sale sign of mine in that neighborhood, and they’re gonna see me at the coffee shop on Monday. Well guess what just happen. I didn’t do any thing I didn’t spend any extra money. I’m only in two subdivisions, but they think I’m everywhere, right? And they and they stick they sell you everything because I’m clearly everywhere. And that’s how I started really layering in that concept of how, you know hyperfocal agent.
D.J. Paris 15:15
Gosh, that is so that is such an incredibly smart. Did you just create that figure that out on your own? Or? Or how did you learn that?
Joanne Bolt 15:23
So I figured it out. Because when we were, you know, when we moved into the house we were in, we were having a hard time getting to know our neighbors. Because we moved into a starter subdivision. We were in our early 20s. And we’re like, you don’t understand. We’re cool people like why is no one knocking on our door to have happy hour. You don’t like sitting on the front set with beer and wine going, come see me come see me. I need friends. And all of our neighbors already had their cliques. And so when I finally asked one of my neighbors, I’m like, Well, how did you guys get to be friends with the other neighbors? They were like, oh, it’s always at the bus stop. Oh, okay, so which bus stop the elementary? Well, I started watching the bus stops. So it was like, okay, in our subdivision. tons of kids got off in the elementary bus stop. Hardly anyone got off in the middle. And there was not one high school where my subdivision? Sure, you know, it’s like, okay, so I went back to my neighbor, and I said, if you guys were going to move to, you know, a home with a basement, the next price point, where would y’all go? And she was like, oh, but she named three different subdivisions. And I said, why she does my kids, school friends are all in those subdivisions, right? It would say in the school district, but it would still get us that bigger house. Okay, so I, I admit, I went through those subdivisions and watched the buses, barely any Elementary is got off a lot of middle and high schoolers got off. And that’s when it started dawned on dawning on me that you can still do do the bullseye effect, but you do it based on price points and subdivisions. In the school bullseye. You know, I don’t need to just sub, you know, just market to the 250 homes, you need to do the 250, the 550, the 750, the rent, you know, you need to do the stepping points of price points where they would fall in the high school progression. Wow. And just and I tried it, you know, I thought, I’ll try anything for nine months, you know, I figure nine months if nothing never occurs, you’re wasting your time, effort and money. But if you’re consistent with what you’re doing, after nine months, you should see some results. And it really worked. And I had clients that said, I called you because I thought you really are the only agent in the area. And that’s really that’s four listings, you know, but they were like, Well, we think you’re the only agent in the area. Because every time we go in and out of subdivisions, he’s only senior size.
D.J. Paris 17:42
So you basically identified your targets world and then decided to live in that world. You were like, I am going to work and play in this world. And so,
Joanne Bolt 17:52
by the way, this was like 2003 ish for it. Like there was no ins Instagrams wasn’t a thing yet, you know, like, if I could go back then and have Instagram and Facebook. I can’t even imagine where the business would be.
D.J. Paris 18:10
Wow. And so So now you’ve built up this team and a group and now you’re basically coaching and mentoring and running the business and and tell us about the shift from being a personal producer to now managing this this, this large group?
Joanne Bolt 18:26
Well, I realized a couple of years ago that although I love buyers and sellers and you know hear me right when I say that, don’t don’t hear me wrong, I do love the buyers and sellers, however, they’re exhausting. Like, super exhausting. And suddenly I had kids and we were trying to manage you know, baseball schedules and tennis schedules and soccer schedules, and go into the lake on the weekend and me always be an on call for clients in essence, because you have to show homes when they’re not working. You know, that’s that’s people’s biggest misperception about agents is we’re super flexible. No, we’re not. Because we have to be able to show when you when you can show.
D.J. Paris 19:06
Yeah, I believe you’re actually you probably have less flexibility and freedom that if you then as a consultant, when you know, when you’re leaving when you’re coming home, you don’t have that luxury as a real estate agent. That’s a good point.
Joanne Bolt 19:19
And so you know, and I had one or two buyer’s agents on my team because I learned to leverage out from almost day one in real estate but one of the brokers came to me and said, Will you teach a class? Well, you know, or help this other agent figure out how to get stuff done. And I clicked back into my consultant mindset so fast that I thought, you know, I really don’t need to be in production anymore, because I can serve my clients better by training up really great agents and then instead of me reaching 40 clients, we can reach 100. Wow. And that’s sort of doing it was scary. Yeah, when you step out of production, like agents think you can kind of baby step out of production and I learned you’re, it’s all or nothing. Like you’re either gonna, you’re either gonna run a team and be in production and then a lot of your teammates start thinking you’re only given the good leads to, you know, you’re keeping them for yourself or you’re even on to certain agents. So I was like, Nope, I’m all or nothing I’m either one foot in or one foot out and
D.J. Paris 20:23
in from it and also from from a recruiting. I’m a recruiter, that’s, that’s what I do. And, you know, from a recruiting perspective, I’m also a non nonpracticing realtor. And, and that really goes a long way in the recruiting side, because agents have been lied to so often by other firms by saying, We have tons of leads. And then of course, as you were saying, then, you know, whether or not the leads are actually coming in, if they see the manager or the, you know, the managing broker, or the person who’s doing the training, also going out and doing business, they’re going to naturally think, are they keeping all the good leads. And so it is a huge advantage to work at a firm where the person who is managing everything is not in production, because then you know, for sure they’re not taking, if there are leads coming in. And we all know, you know, firms don’t usually get a lot of leads anyway. But at least you’re not having to worry about the client, you know, the brokers thinking, hey, they’re not giving them to me, she’s keeping them for herself.
Joanne Bolt 21:20
And you know, 80 something percent of the teams that I consult with and help them grow their business. I mean, the majority of what they’re closing is the Rainmaker, and one other agent may be picking up what he or she is too busy, to handle. Sure. And so, you know, when I started, when I shifted into the mode of No, I’m not gonna take any of it, they can have anything that naturally comes my way through my networking and my you know, my marketing, and whatever I do, then it was actually freeing for me to really just step into that CEO mindset and run a business it became a business instead of just a job.
D.J. Paris 21:59
Well, let’s do a little mini coaching session for our our invisible audience that is not our is not able to get feedback at all. Because I know you have, you know, your everything is working by referral for you. And I love that because of course, we all know that that’s really the way to go. But let’s talk about sphere of influence. So you mentioned a really important strategy of knowing sort of the progression of life events for your targeted audience. And you did it geographically. Like, here’s where they want, here’s where they live. Now, here’s where they’re going to move to here’s kind of the timeline. But back just a sphere of influence in general, do you have any tips for for our listeners out there who are like, you know, every so often I find out somebody in my sphere went with a different agent. And of course, we know that happens to everybody at some point, but any suggestions about how to maximize your relationships with your sphere of influence? So that happens less frequently? And, and obviously, you being able to get more deals from that?
Joanne Bolt 22:55
Yeah, actually. And what I teach and help agents is a mindset shift. And a lot of agents the minute I start talking about this, they’re like, oh, peace out, that will never work. Because it takes consistency. And it’s outside the regular box of being a real estate agent. But here, here’s what I always tell people where I would tell people now you do not promote yourself. Period is not about you. It’s about them. You’re promoting, not your service, but who you are. Well, people don’t give a rat’s patootie how many homes you’ve sold. So stop posting just listed just sold. And
D.J. Paris 23:34
I’ve been saying that and now look, I’m no genius, because of course, but I’m a non produce. I’m a marketing guy. I’m not even really in real estate. And I’ve been saying that since day one is nobody cares. The only people that care it’s, it’s good for your friends to see that you’re being successful, I guess. And they’ll have a little cheer for you and they’ll like your post, but other than that, nobody else cares.
Joanne Bolt 23:54
No, they don’t. So when you flip your marketing switch around to the relationship, it will increase your sphere and referral business. I mean, quadruple it you just got to be consistent. So you know what we encourage our agents to do is instead of having a just listed post, I want to see let me tell you about the Brown family who is selling their home at 123 Main Street oh my gosh, they’ve lived here for 23 years they brought their kids home here Fido the dog learn to run in the backyard. But now their kids are gone to college and they’re super sad to leave XYZ feature of the home behind but they know the next family is going to love it. Follow us along to watch and see where they end up. Now that’s a post that will catch someone’s eye because you’re gonna have a photo of the family. Not the traditional just the front of the home. Right? Right. Right. Maybe you inadvertently told whoever is you know, looking at your your marketing that you’ve got the home on the market. A great feature about the house and why someone would love it. You never mentioned price, how many bedrooms or even the location it’s in. But people want to know about people. It’s why social media has taken off like it is because then we can silently watch what other people are doing and find out about them as if we know them. So if you turn around and look at the from that perspective, when you’re working your sphere, you never bombard the people that know you with stats about your business, or how many homes you’ve got on the market, you bombard them with the relationship aspect. And then they know that you, you’re not looking at clients as just a paycheck, but as people, and they’re far more likely to refer you or better yet, pick the phone up when you call. Because if you call them every other day, and you only ask them, if they know someone who’s interested in buying real estate, they will tune you out and stop
D.J. Paris 25:54
answering the phones, yeah, they’ll stop, they’ll stop picking up that phone,
Joanne Bolt 25:57
delete, voicemail, voicemail, and then you’ve lost the relationship. And so your referral status goes, the minute you do that,
D.J. Paris 26:06
I mean, the other thing, the other thing that you’re doing by a post, like that, by hey, I want to tell you about, you know, the Brown family and then you start you know, telling their story is it also demonstrates a level of intimacy that you’re willing to create with with your clients. And then also share, it demonstrates empathy, compassion, all of the things that we want in our trusted professionals. And so it really does a number of things, in addition to also saying, Oh, by the way, I’m you know, like it, I’m subtly saying, Oh, by the way, I listed and sold their home, but you’re really saying I know these people and how you know, and that’s that’s really, really important.
Joanne Bolt 26:43
Well, and they’re more likely to spread the word about their home been on the market, because they like the piece you wrote about them? Yes. So they want to send it out to all their friends. And now what have you done, you just hit that outside target on the, you know, the bullseye, you just hit all the people that they know, and the ones that that they didn’t even know, they know, because the story gets shared somewhere else?
D.J. Paris 27:05
Well, I mean, it’s no secret that this podcast was built with pretty much that same philosophy, which is if I can help someone, you know, be able to tell their story about how they grew their business, or how they became a top producer, and maybe even help them either recruit agents, if they if they’re running a company, or if they just want more business, maybe, you know, we could talk about what they offer buyers, sellers, investors, etc, then and we do a fun interview that costs them nothing, of course, then maybe they would want to share that. And that would you know, of course, get us more listeners. And that’s that’s been our whole philosophy as well. So it’s kind of almost like a give first philosophy, your first
Joanne Bolt 27:44
concept you give birth, and it will come the reason agents don’t, you know, jump straight in and give it their all on that is it it, it may not get to your first closing in 30 days, right, you know, it may take four to five months to get that consistency. But when you run it that way, it will get consistent. So you know, the agents who only do and, you know, hey, if you’re out there, and you are a rock star on the phone with expired listings, you know, don’t rock the boat, keep doing what you’re doing to you. But those are the agents I find when I’m working with people is they have offseasons, you know, they’ll have November and December with nothing in the pipeline, because nobody’s answering the phone at that time, or there’s no listings that have expired to then call and the ones that are all in on working everything they can in the local community and sphere working and referral, you know, you’re going to close consistently every single month no matter what. I’ve never had a December where we weren’t close in two or three. Yeah. You know, we’re we’re working the methods, we don’t slow down.
D.J. Paris 28:55
Yeah, it’s all about deepening relationships. And I think that that’s, you know, the key to the the skill set is really mean, of course, you really should know the market, of course, and know, you know, the ins and outs of real estate and each study that every single day, and that should be part of your daily tasks, of course. But that should also be deepening relationships should be a part of every single day. And if you even if you didn’t really work on the skill set of the business of working on knowing the business and all you did was deepen relationships, and you were actually a terrible agent, you would still be pretty successful, even if you really didn’t have the skill set of knowing the market because you would be so trusted by people just based on you know, the fact that they that you care about their lives. Now of course you should do everything but but people you know, it’s it. That’s the part that is kind of the most fun part, I think for a lot of people, but it’s also something that they it’s easy to forget to do. It’s easy to forget to think like did I deepen some relationships today? How did I you know, how did I give back or what did I do to make somebody’s in my spheres day a little brighter?
Joanne Bolt 30:00
Yeah, and how can I meet their needs before they even know that that need is a car? Yeah. You know, how can I differentiate myself from the 84,000 other agents in the area? Well, one is not bombarding people with just listed just sold posts, but it’s, it’s remembering to as an agent that, you know, you do this every single month? Well, they don’t. So you would think that you would, you know, that, that you’d understand what they’re going through, but we forget what they’re going through. So finding the time to take those moments and, and meeting their needs ahead of time will also mean that they will refer you out the next time. And here’s my best tip for meeting the need ahead of time. If your clients have like, two and three and four year olds, and they’re moving, your parents will forget that it’s scary for those little people. Sure. Because those little people, they think, Oh, they’re little people, they’ll adapt, they’ll adapt, they’ll adjust, they’ll be fine, though, they want to remember the old bedroom, five minutes after we move into the new one. And that’s kind of accurate, but they have very different concerns like, Hey, Mom, you just packed up my teddy bear. Where’s he going? And will he be there when I get there? You know, they don’t understand the concept of moving. So we started getting all of our clients, whether they were buyers or sellers, the Bernstein bears book, we are moving. Yeah, it’s like a $4 purchase on Amazon. And we just order them in bulk. And I tell all my agents and everyone I work with, if your clients have little people hand, your clients these books and say, Listen, you may not think you need to read this, but I promise you, you do. Yeah. And all that does is ease the fear of the little people in their lives. Well, we’ve met that need before that parent even realize that it’s going to be a problem. And yeah, that’s how we get also referred is because we take those extra steps.
D.J. Paris 31:50
Yeah, the idea of anticipating a need like that, and then meeting it in advance of the person even knowing that this is a thing is so important. I mean, I’m in the process of closing on a property, it is not my first closing. And I am still terrified, not terrified. But I am definitely I have anxiety and I’m terrified to start. But but I’m definitely scared I have anxiety around it. It is it is not, you know, it’s just it’s a thing. And for those of us who are listening, who are practicing realtors, we don’t get scared, you know, realtors don’t get scared, I, as a consumer am really scared and add even though it’s all going to work out. And I know, it’s like I realized how much of this business is about anxiety. And if the realtor can really think about how do I anticipate what the anxiety of the buyer or the seller or the renter is going to be in advance and then solve that problem before it even really comes up is? Boy, you are you are so important to that client.
Joanne Bolt 32:46
Yeah, so that so you know, and I know a lot of agents who will ask you five or six times during the process. Now when we’re finished, I’m going to ask you for a referral. You know, can you be thinking along the way, you know, can you be thinking about who you could refer to me. And I never do that because I wouldn’t want them doing that to me. Instead, we take those opportunities to do the Mercy there’s books or go ahead and call three moving companies and help them get quotes ahead of time so that they’re not shocked that it’s a $10,000 move when they move, right. We haven’t budgeted in that expensive of a minivan. So we start doing all those things during the process so that the whole experience is so easy that they will naturally when their friend says oh my gosh, who did you use to buy or sell your home? They’ll go oh, the bulk? Or do you know what they did? They gave my kid a variety. There’s book.
D.J. Paris 33:36
Yeah, we all just want things the professionals that we hire, whether it’s an accountant, or a real estate agent, or an attorney or a doctor or the person who cuts our hair or or what have dentists. We all just want things to be easy. We all just want to go hey, I’m hiring you just make this as easy as possible for me,
Joanne Bolt 33:54
buttons can we provide for you? Yes.
D.J. Paris 33:59
i Okay, I want to talk about agent too. So So by the way, I should mention because we haven’t really formally said this but Joanne has has a basically three methods of referral service. He has sphere of influence, which we talked about. But the second one, which we haven’t yet talked about is agent to agent networks. I’m curious to know what that is, and how you how you instruct your agents to sort of take advantage of that.
Joanne Bolt 34:19
Oh, yeah. So that’s a good one. So we I look at everything and say there’s always an upstream and a downstream and your upstream and your downstream are where are my clients going when they move and where are they coming from? And if you’re not sure you can go to where money moves.com And you can literally look at where income moves across the United States. So for us, a lot of people from New York and Chicago and San Francisco area move into the Atlanta area. Well, if I know that because I’ve done my research. Then I start out we make it a priority every single week. We start finding agents in those areas and we make part of our lead generation phone calls. You The only people we call call are other agents. And so we develop relationships with agents, who are more likely to send their clients to the Atlanta area. Because I think, you know, if you just do a referral network group on Facebook, and someone says, who’s my Atlanta agent, you’re gonna get 1000 different answers, well, I want them go into a page like that. I want to talk to an agent so many times on the phone, that they naturally think my main when they think Atlanta. So we will call agents in the areas more likely to move into the Atlanta area. And we also call and develop relationships with the agents in the areas, we tend to notice our clients moving to like a lot of our agents by secondary homes on 30. A in Florida. So I’ve gotten to know a lot of agents down there, especially those agents because if I’m sending you a referral, I want to know you’re going to do a good job. Because that still means a lot. So we work that agents agent network on both ends, because those agents know other agents in their areas. And so that agent might say, Hey, who do you know, in Atlanta, and they’ll say, the bulk group. And so we make it just part of our routine that you’re going to call five or six agents every single week, up and down strain and get to know them not just like their posts on Facebook or Instagram, but like pick the phone up and actually call them and say, What’s the weather like in Chicago? And how is it affecting your business? And that’s all that’s all it takes?
D.J. Paris 36:29
Yeah, it’s really, really smart. And I know like my parents, they sold, they had a, they had a home I in Myrtle Beach. And for years and years. They were trying to sell it and they couldn’t find. Eventually they found a good realtor after I think it was the fourth realtor that was actually able to sell the condo, but But you know, it was one of those things where I went, gosh, Mom and Dad, I really don’t know anybody there. And again, I’m not a practicing realtor. But I said I really don’t know. But but you know, they didn’t. They didn’t know anyone either. And, you know, eventually we found somebody, but it’s really, really important to know, you know, where are those clients? Where are the people in your sphere are moving to where are they moving from when they get to you? And then developing those relationships. So your recommendation is to start and how do you how do you select agents in those areas? Are you looking on like Zillow for people that have the best reviews? Are you asking around? How are you? How are you?
Joanne Bolt 37:26
Honest, I don’t look at reviews at all, because my husband pointed this one out to me. He said, Joanne, don’t ever look at reviews for restaurants online. The only people who ever really put a review are people who are ticked off and want to put a bad one. Correct. So if an agent has all five star reviews on Zillow, you can’t tell me nothing’s ever gone wrong. And no, I’ve been ticked off at you like it doesn’t exist. And so we start looking at the first place I’m gonna go is within our brokerage EXP and I’m going to look up who are some of the top producers in the area, and you’re going to their social media. I am I’m going to their Instagram, I’m going to their Facebook page, I’m going to hit their LinkedIn page, I’m going to see what kind of stuff do they post both personal and business because if all their posting is really inappropriate, maybe political stuff might not be who I want to reach out to because I’m a relationship with you, Ryan spewing it, it doesn’t work for relationship. And if all you’re posting is stuff about just listen just sold well, you’re boring. So we start hunting, you know, agents, we’d want to spend five minutes or so a day on the phone with because we’re going to be sending our clients that we’ve gotten to know and we’re figuring those clients probably are looking for a personality similar to ours as in their next agent. So we’re hunting those personalities that mirror ours a little bit.
D.J. Paris 38:48
Yeah, that’s, that’s really, really smart. So what a great tip, and then the the I know, you had another referral idea, which is reputation referral, but I think we’ve sort
Joanne Bolt 38:56
of use that hyper local agent concept, you know,
D.J. Paris 39:00
and right now there’s such an opportunity I think going back to that hyperlocal idea of reaching out to the small businesses that are struggling especially if you’re just not that busy as an agent right now if all of a sudden right now you don’t have a lot of buyers and sellers which boy there’s never been a better time to be a buyer or a seller it seems like because rates are low for buyers and there’s not a ton of inventory so great for sellers but of course it varies of course Market to Market but a lot of opportunity out there but there’s still a lot of people who you know are stuck at home and they’re not as mobile and and of course you know people are there’s a lot of fear and that makes sense and but the where there’s a tremendous amount of fear and you can actually provide a lot of value is still supporting those local businesses and saying what can I do to help you guys stay in business and obviously you might not say it that way. But what can I do to help you guys Thrive right now is there something I can do? I mean, we all have favorite local you know establishments
Joanne Bolt 40:00
Absolutely. And what? Go ahead.
D.J. Paris 40:02
Sorry. Go ahead. No, please.
Joanne Bolt 40:04
So here’s, here’s my tip for that. One is understanding your audience first, where you’re going to promote that local business, and then how to do it. I really liked the idea of giveaways. Everyone loves a giveaway, right? Sure. Great. So I might call my local coffee shop and say, Hey, can you afford to do a $10 gift card, and if you can’t, I’ll buy it, and I’ll give it away. But if you want to give it away, then you know, that’s okay, too. I’m going to come next Friday, I’m going to bring my you know, my iPhone camera and my microphone. And we’re going to do a two minute video where you get to talk about your coffee shop and what business is looking like and what the best flavor of the month is, or, you know, whatever you want to do to promote your own business. Now, I’m going to do that in person on Facebook, because then I’m going to do it from my page and ask them because they probably have a business profile on Facebook, I’m going to ask them to share it onto their page. So now my eyeballs for this giveaway contests are on their followers and mine, but you have to come back to my page to enter the contest. Right, so now I’ve gotten ever I’ve directed you right back to my page from theirs. But on Instagram, that doesn’t work as well, sure, on Instagram, the you know, the owner of the coffee shop, they can share your posts, but it’s they can’t really reshare it to get it circled back to you. Right. So Instagram now has created guides. So we might create a guide that says local places to eat and drink and coming Georgia and we will create a post about that coffee shop, save it and add it to our guide. So that now we have promoted that local shop on our guide on Instagram. And on Facebook. We do the giveaway on Facebook, but we just promote the coffee shop on Instagram. And we tell people very you know the thing you have to understand about social media is the algorithms like people interact with what you’re posting, right. So you need to create something that’s saleable or shareable. The Facebook giveaway is shareable the Instagram page, if you tell them at the bottom of your little post about the coffee shop, bookmark this for later when you’re craving a cup of Joe, you tell them to bookmark it, the more people bookmark that page, or that post, Instagram thinks, oh, this is super important and starts pumping it up on the Explore. Feed.
D.J. Paris 42:29
Yeah, engagement is everything in social media, we actually become
Joanne Bolt 42:32
hyperlocal in your area is people start following you because they want to know where to go have a drink on Friday night. And they start associating you with real estate because by nature, your stuff is going to have some real estate stuff related to it.
D.J. Paris 42:45
Do you know let last night was the Super Bowl. And for all of us if you’re listening, or watching this after after we recorded this yesterday, at the date of recording yesterday was Super Bowl. And it’s really funny. So Joanne just mentioned something that I really had never seen another brand do I’m sure it’s been done a million times. But I hadn’t seen it during the Superbowl. And I don’t know if for all the ones who are listening, watch the ad from Mountain Dew, which was basically said there was a 32nd ad it was about some new flavor they had. And it was count the number of bottles in this ad and then tweet us the the number that you think it is. And it was like a million dollar prize. Now obviously that’s an extreme prize. My girlfriend and I immediately jumped on our phones, we never really go on Twitter, we both jumped on and we even tried to count to figure out and we got it wrong. But we tried and and I went I wonder how many tweets they just got. And then you had to share, of course, their information in the tweet itself. And I thought that was one of the smartest things I’ve ever seen. I
Joanne Bolt 43:49
took that concept of shareability from Instagram, and they and they just put it on a commercial with Twitter and boom, brilliant. It’s it’s absolutely fantastic.
D.J. Paris 44:00
So so just to recap that this particular ideas, talk to a local business, say, hey, I want to I love your business. I want to share it on social media, is there any sort of giveaway that you could do for my audience, if not, maybe out, you know, I can purchase something, you know, gift card or whatever, or
Joanne Bolt 44:17
I’m not going to make them you know, pay for it. They don’t mind given it. And that’s not my pocket. And that’s, you know, a win win very money.
D.J. Paris 44:23
Sure. And then we’re going to create a contest and we’re going to have fun with it on social media, and I’m going to come interview you and talk about it. And we’re gonna post it and share it, you’re gonna share it with your audience. I’m going to share it with mine and everybody wins. So
Joanne Bolt 44:35
let’s see. Here’s the other thing. Again, it all comes back to consistency. Be consistent. Don’t do it one time and think you’re gonna explode your following on for your business. No, do it every Friday in the year 2021. And guess what? If you let your followers know, hey, next Friday, we’re going to do this again and again and again. Then they will keep coming back to Your Facebook page? Well, the more they come back to your Facebook page, tag someone in the comment, you know, do whatever you’re asking them to do, the more Facebook puts your stuff at the top of their feed. So then when you do have that post to your to your page about the Brown family at 123 Maple Street, it is showing up on those people’s feeds whether they went to it or not. Why because every Friday, they go to find out what you’re given away. So Facebook thinks they love you and puts you at top of their feed.
D.J. Paris 45:30
Very, very smart. I love it.
Joanne Bolt 45:33
On my Instagram page, I do it every Sunday, but I give away something that you know I don’t. Because on my Instagram page, I’m not going for, you know, the hyperlocal agent, I’m reaching real estate agents. And so I just do, you know, might do the book I’m reading or the day planner on, you know, currently using something that any agent anywhere might benefit from. And you know, so I took the same concept I did to build my following on Facebook for my business. And now I’m using it Instagram to build a realtor hauling. It’s the same thing. Every Sunday, I give something away every Sunday. I love it.
D.J. Paris 46:07
Well, what a great place to wrap up. And we should say for everyone listening or watching if you are an agent, well really agent anywhere in the country, but also if you’re in the Atlanta area and surrounding areas. And if you’re looking to switch firms, I mean, this is the time of year where people start evaluating or reevaluating. Am I at the right firm? Am I getting what I need? Am I getting the right level of coaching and support? And if you’re looking for some new opportunities and coaching, right, am I getting the coaching I need? Joanne bolt, and her group is would love to reach you. So if there are any agents out there who are thinking about, you know, joining a different team, or joining a team for the first time and really, you know, becoming a better producer, what’s the best way they should reach
Joanne Bolt 46:51
out? We don’t have to be on on the team just you want to partner with us. Let’s partner you know, that’s now we’re shipping a lot of our down and upstream referrals into people who are partnering with the bulk group across the country. Because I know how they’re getting taught and trained because I’m doing it right.
D.J. Paris 47:08
Well, what’s the best way any of our listeners who are interested in learning more about you know, becoming a partner with you what what they should do to reach out?
Joanne Bolt 47:16
The best way is either to DM me through Instagram at at its Joanne bolt, or just to send me a text message to my phone number. And you know, I’ll answer it. And could you provide your phone number? Sure, it’s 678-662-1102.
D.J. Paris 47:35
We should also remind everyone to visit Joanne at bolt group realty.com bol T group realty.com and visit her again on Instagram, which is it’s and Joanne is Jo A N N E bolt. So it’s Joanne bolt. Joanne, thank you so much for being on our show you gave you gave incredible content, great tips and advice. And we love love having you on. And for everyone who is listening. Before we sign off, please, if you want to help us grow our podcast, just we ask that you do just two quick things. Number one, tell a friend I think of one other agent out there that could benefit who maybe is struggling or maybe isn’t even struggling but is wants to get to that next level and isn’t totally sure what to do and send them a link to this episode that we just are doing with Joanne the easiest way to do that go to our website, keeping it real pod.com. So again, keeping it real pod.com. They don’t even have to download a podcast app, they can stream every episode we’ve ever done, including this one, right on our website. And also the second thing follow us on Facebook every single day we find an article written online specifically designed to help agents get to the next level, we post a link to it, we post a funny meme every day. And we also post all of our interviews there. So you can find us at firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash keeping it real pod. Joanne, thank you so much for being on the show. And
Joanne Bolt 48:54
one really quick question, please. Because I know real estate agents always want a review from their client to a specific location. If we’re going to review your podcast, where’s your favorite spot for us review?
D.J. Paris 49:05
Oh, wherever, wherever you want. We’ll take it from anywhere.
Joanne Bolt 49:09
All right, I’m gonna sit here I’ll see you there.
D.J. Paris 49:11
See, this is why this is why you do you give to people because then they want to do nice things like write reviews for you. I didn’t ask Joanne to write a review and I’m super grateful that it even occurred to her to do that. And you know, and now she’s going to do it. So give first that’s the message here. And it also be really strategic as Joanne said aim for the bull’s eye know what the bull’s eye first you have to define the bullseye. So go back and read listen to the
Joanne Bolt 49:37
beginning. As far as before you define your goals i But yes,
D.J. Paris 49:41
but don’t throw those darts in the dark, right turn on the light know where you’re aiming and do your research. That’s what a consultant does. That’s what Joanne did before she was in real estate. She went to companies and said, Tell me about where you’re struggling what what are the pain points here, and then she would go back and you know, figure out a solution and Then go present it. That’s what consultancy is all about. And that’s what why you’ve become obviously so successful. So, Joe, and thanks for so much for being on the show with me. I had a great time. All right, well, we will see everyone on the next episode. All right. Thanks, Joanne. All right. Bye