Jim Starwalt, Broker Owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Star Homes has been a top producer, trainer and coach for over 20 years. In our conversation Jim, in his candid style, shares exactly what real estate agents need to do today to grow their business. He also talks about the challenges with text messaging clients and how to set a boundary around your personal time. This episode is chock full of actionable strategies to help you stay productive!
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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 in just a moment we’re going to be speaking with Jim star. Well before we get to Jim, I want to remind everyone of two quick things number one, please tell a friend think of one other real estate agent in your life in your office in your periphery somebody you may be met at a showing or somebody you know who needs some help getting to that next level and send them a link to this show. This is our whole intention to help agents grow their business so please tell everybody you know that helps us also please follow us on Facebook you can find email@example.com forward slash keeping it real pod not only do we find an article written specifically to help you grow your business every single day of the week. We also post links to all of our episodes and you can watch the videos sorry you can watch the interviews being recorded on video in real time only on Facebook so again facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pot we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and now on to our interview with Jim Stowell.
Today on the show we have Jim star wall of Better Homes and garden STAR homes. If you’re not familiar with Jim, Jim is the broker owner of Better Homes and Gardens real estate STAR homes with offices here in the Chicagoland area in Gray’s Lake and McHenry, Illinois. Jim has over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry as a top performing realtor and real estate team leader. And before working in real estate Jim spent 15 years as a roofing contractor, Jim can provide superior level of real estate knowledge, service and advice to not only his clients, but the brokers at his firm. Now last year, this is really impressive. Jim’s team sold over 150 units, which is amazing. Jim has passion and coaching. His passion is coaching and teaching agents and we are absolutely thrilled to have him on the podcast today. And you can visit Jim at Jim star wall team.com, which will take you right over to the Better Homes and Gardens STAR home website and you can learn all about what they offer. Jim, thank you so much for being on the show.
Jim Starwalt 3:29
Hey, thanks for having me on here. And quick correction is Better Homes and Gardens real estate STAR homes. So we’re sorry, we’re so sorry. We’re associated with the magazine, but we’re not the magazine. So they are a sister company. So those wonderful franchise long tails that we have. So
D.J. Paris 3:47
isn’t it you know, it’s so funny here in Illinois. So, of course, not all of our listeners are realtors in Illinois, but they’ve made a lot of changes, the state has really finally created rules around teams and company names. And so now a lot of you know, things have just gotten longer.
Jim Starwalt 4:06
But yeah, it’s longer and we have to spell it out. But it’s not a bad thing. You know, they’ve changed our signage, which I’ve always had had the company the company has to be prominent and all signage and all advertising, which is not bad. I mean, if you’re not proud of where you are, you know, so many people weren’t working under under a brokerage and you know, they’re trying to put the brokerage name and miniscule letters down at the very bottom and their name logic how to promote yourself and your broker is going to be happy to want you to promote yourself and such but, boy, there’s there’s power in numbers. You know, the more signs out that look similar people understand who you are better.
D.J. Paris 4:48
Yeah, uniformity is for branding is just so important. I also think, yeah, and I also think some of the rules now that are around teams and how companies promote themselves with Advertising guidelines are really just to help the consumer know what’s going on because it can be so confusing to the consumer. So I think you’re right, it’s ultimately a good thing.
Jim Starwalt 5:12
For consumers, it’s a tough for consumers to know, like, who do I contact, if I find if I have a problem, everything’s fine until it’s not as what I say all the time. So everything’s good until it’s not good. And then people need to know who to reach. So if you’re
D.J. Paris 5:28
Yeah, we’re actually redoing, we’re redoing all of our signs as well, right now, because we many, many years ago, we just had a general 800 number. And every time a broker joined us, we’d give them a little extension. And then that way, they wouldn’t have to put a rider or they’d still put a rider on, but they would put either their cell phone or their extension. And finally, like, this is like 10 years later, we’re like, what are we doing, putting an 800 number there that no one’s calling, and also, it’s just gonna confuse you know, the consumer, trying to find that broker by typing in some extension, they’re not going to remember notice. And so finally, like we had to wise up ago, just put the brokers phone number on there, don’t put ours. And of course, you know, so constantly trying to improve, to make things better for the consumer as well. I
Jim Starwalt 6:15
should have should have their own phone. But yeah, okay. Let’s go.
D.J. Paris 6:20
To Be quiet. No.
Jim Starwalt 6:23
That’s why you’re spending your marketing dollars. You know?
D.J. Paris 6:26
You’re absolutely right. Yeah. And we don’t want the calls either the brokerage firm doesn’t want.
Jim Starwalt 6:31
You don’t want don’t want that we want to absolutely who’s ever marketing, we want it to go to you, you’re paying your efforts, you’re paying your money, we want to absolutely go to you. So okay, what do you try to get out? I’ll be quiet.
D.J. Paris 6:41
No, no, no, no, no, I think what you said is really important. And also for everyone listening, you know, think about that. Think about all of your marketing materials, you know, is it easy for somebody to get in touch with you, and don’t just assume that you always know, send it out to you know, 20 people that are in your sphere of influence and say, Hey, I’m working on this marketing material? Is it really clear how to get in touch with me? Or is it confusing? Is it confusing who I work for is, you know, and it’s really important to get some feedback. So Jim, no, that was awesome. But yeah, let’s let’s talk about stuff about you. And you’ve been in real estate for a long time. Tell us how did you get how did you first get into real estate? I
Jim Starwalt 7:21
haven’t done it over 20 years. So getting close to 25 ish, but my wife Susan was an agent before I was. And so when she started so I was a roofing contractor grew up in a contractor family. I’ve been running around roof since I was 10. In fact, I remember I was about 10, or 11. I was on this summer time wasn’t at school. So I’d go with that. And it was fun. Putting shingles on up on the roof. And I had somebody to climb roofs. Yeah, somebody stop and yelling at my dad. You can have that little kid up there. We’re calling the police in the labor force. And he just gave him a nice wave told them they’re number one. But any, no. So as a roofing contractor, and then my wife, Susan, she got into real estate and I’ve always been fascinated with real estate. Like, I had one of my one of my buddies that grew up with him. He’s a he’s a broker. Now to Jay reed out there. I think he’s with I think he’s with HomeSmart. Now, but every day after school we played, we played Monopoly. So it’s like, I always beat him to So Jay, if you’re listening. Sorry, I beat you all the time. But yeah, we play Monopoly every single day. So it’s just kind of it just kind of chuckles me. But anyway, Susan got her license and she was working. Back then you got your license, and they sat down and they said, Here’s the phone book, right? Yeah, seriously. Here’s the phone book, look in the office where it was in Mundelein, Illinois, and they said start Dakota Mundelein section, start at the A’s who started dialing. Then a week she had her first listing, she sold 38 homes her first year all by herself.
D.J. Paris 8:59
Wow. That’s a hit pause for a second. That is incredible for for a number of reasons. Even, you know, in today’s market or any any today’s market. First of all, even if you had 38 Friends ready to buy or sell homes that were close to you, that would be an amazing accomplishment to fact that she cold called people out of the phonebook and got listings and ended up closing that many. I mean, first of all, just doing that many deals in the first year puts you in the top 1% of all realtors in Chicago so that is absolutely incredible.
Jim Starwalt 9:33
Yeah, she’s she’s absolutely amazing. She’s basically she does all the work around here and I take all the credit as how it goes. So we were both we’re both working together. In fact, I remember the first listing appointment she sent me on I can still visualize the house I can picture the people. It was horrible. I could not wait to get out the door. We’re doing that. That whole spreadsheet where you know like an appraisal like your house is this and you have the fireplace As little add 5000 In fact, back then we had a list that said a fireplace is worth $5,000. If you have a basement opposed to not having a basement, it’s $15,000 very simple. It was, but I’m trying to read all this. I’m trying to talk to these people on my first appointment. I just I try not to swear I made a really, really bad I could I, it was horrible. I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. Then I remember the second the second appointment, I went on I was trained back then it was hardcore. It was hardcore, close. I mean, and I went out I remember the house was in Ingleside. It was on the lake. It was a poor lady. And I got in and I closed on and I got the signature. The time I got home, I had a phone message waiting. She was in tears. Do I really have to sell my house? Oh, no. Last time I ever did that. Yeah. And it was just just like, hey, so high pressure tactics started really, really quick. And something that it’s not about the what we learned really quick is a real estate is not about selling. It’s about bonding. And it’s not about you. It’s not about your tools. It’s about your client. And it’s about their needs, and what do they want. So everybody knows me knows I have a hard time listening. But they know that when I’m in front of a client, I do a lot more listening than I do talking. So let me find out how I can be a service to you. Because that’s how we have a service. So
D.J. Paris 11:27
yeah, you’re absolutely right. And it isn’t about the agent, it’s about the consumer and getting their needs met and exceeding their expectations. So you’re, you’re a trainer, you have realtors, that you’re coaching from your firm, of course, this is a huge passion of yours, right now. Everything’s temporarily hopefully paused or not paused so much is just changed. Everyone is stuck at home most of the globe. And you know, realtors are still trying to keep their business active. What are you suggesting? Or what are you seeing agents doing that you think is a good idea during the sort of, you know, challenging time.
Jim Starwalt 12:08
Now, you’re gonna have a hard time keeping me on track because I bounce all over but I’m gonna go back to Susan selling we’ll come right back to this. Sure. Greg can control your show. Susan was selling lots of homes and I’m up on the roof sick of babies, you know, and diapers. They’re they’re four and six at the time. And I’m up on the roof and I got the bag phone and it’s on the chimney. And so I got my crew of three and hear the phone ring or the pager would go off. Shut off the compressors. Everybody’s happy. We’re up to the chimney. Hi, yeah, this is this is Jim. That was a REMAX of the times that Jim REMAX and you know, how can I help you? What? What do you need? I would take down some notes. Great. I’m in a meeting right now. There’s some people here with me. I never lie. There was people with me. How about if I call you back at about 330 Oh, that’d be great. Hang up the phone. We’ll get back to work. So yeah, so she got me off the roof. If you’ve ever had to go up on roofs because you got babies and diapers and it’s 10 degrees out and you have a cleats on and go on two story roof and shovel the snow and ice off. Back then we didn’t have ropes. We didn’t use ropes and safety stuff you put the cleats on and like golf shoes and walked around and shoveled the roof off for free the first day so that the sun will melted off so you can work the next day make money. Oh wow, selling real estate’s easy after that. So So yeah, so as soon as I got me into that, so anyhow, I had to I had to give her lots of credit for working really hard and getting me out of that job. So anyhow, training and coaching, what should people be concentrating on especially right now? Especially right now the thing that you have to do is you have to time block you have to have a calendar. Everybody listening to a lot of realtors, mostly Realtors listening probably lots of other people too but go to your brokers I know that they’ve all been coaching you and teaching you they’re all good. Listen to them. Now’s the time to call them up and and say hey, I remember six months ago you were talking about helping me with my calendar. You wanted to sit down, get on a zoom conference, share your calendar, show them what’s going on. I have a I have a team of we did about 160 If you include Wisconsin I’m also have Wisconsin brokerage virtual brokerage so I did a majority of it I think I did about of that 150 A personal I was about 85 or 90 listings was the side of that. I don’t work Sundays. I don’t work Wednesday afternoons me and Susan go on the boat we go fishing. Because when somebody calls and they want to have an appointment with me it took me years and years and years until I was coaching agents and teaching them how to do these things that it really hit home with me. Is that somebody calls can you come over tonight? At seven? No, I’m sorry, I can’t. I am all booked up. But you know the oh can you can I make it at 130 or 212 Are your 330 my appointments are 133 30 and 530. And that’s it. Of course, everybody says, and that’s it. I’ve got one tonight at six. Yeah, you know, it’s pretty, it’s pretty tight on that. But I don’t work Sundays. And people will fit their appointments within that you have to know what you’re going to do each day. So when an agent shows up in my office, and they don’t see them work, I see them drinking coffee, or I see them they look a little bit lost, I say, Hey, show me your calendar. You haven’t been you haven’t been selling as many homes, as you told me you wanted to, I can help you get to the success level you want to be at, you told me where you wanted to be. So show me your calendar. And I can tell you if you’re going to make that or not. So if you don’t know what you’re doing the rest of the day, if your calendar doesn’t have what you’re doing from nine to 10, from 10, to 1030, a break from 1030 to 11, from 11 to 12, then you should go home. If you don’t know what you’re doing today, I want you to spend the next hour deciding what you’re going to do the next three days and put on your calendar and go have the rest of the day off, go do a video, go do something. Because you’re no sense sitting in here pretending you’re playing real estate. agents come into the office, and they have coffee, and they go on brokers tour. Or they decide well, maybe I’ll work on something. So I get on Facebook, Hey, I’ve spent eight hours doing a nice, really cool post for Facebook. And I sent out I’m proud of myself, I did real estate today. Right? So So anyhow, I don’t I get I get kind of passionate about this because I hate seeing Realtors not being successful. It’s such a lucrative business, and it’s so rewarding helping people. But you have to have a calendar. And you have to have a schedule. You should know right now, every hour of the day what you’re doing tomorrow. Correct?
D.J. Paris 16:51
Correct. Correct. I couldn’t agree with you more I, I struggle with that myself. I’m not a practicing realtor. But just in my own day to day business as a more creative type, which I think real estate agents fall into that same category. structure can be difficult for a lot of real estate professionals, and especially if they’re working on their own, and are solo sort of practitioner. But now as Jim said, Now is the time to lean on your firm. And while you’re stuck at home, if you don’t have those structures in place, or you need help establishing those, what a great opportunity to reach out to your managing broker to say, hey, remember that training that you promised me it’s I’d like to cash in a little bit on that, can you help me schedule my day? I couldn’t agree with you more. That’s so you have to know your start date and your your start time and your end time. And everything you’re going to do in between. So I think that is it’s such simple advice. But it’s incredibly powerful. And I would bet most of us no matter what profession we’re at, really don’t do that. So now’s the opportunity to develop those habits.
Jim Starwalt 17:52
Well, in many realtors are female or male who are watching the kids at home or at home. Right? It’s even more important to have that calendar, that schedule, put it up. I mean, people laugh in our office when I when I talk and I train because I show him a picture of my bedroom. Me and Susan, we get up and there’s a great big calendar on our wall. We know what we’re doing throughout the whole year. We know when our vacations are we know when different seminars we’re teaching, we know what’s going on. We live this stuff. So you’ve got kids at home, they need to know that from eight to nine is study time or book reading time, and I’m going to be doing this. And then we’re going to stop at 845 to nine. And I’m going to help you if you’re having if you’re struggling. So it couldn’t be more beneficial to teach them how to follow a schedule also. And to get yourself in the habit of doing that. Because when this breaks loose, you better have a calendar because it’s going to be wild.
D.J. Paris 18:51
Yeah, I think it is. I think you’re right. And the structure thing. I think we could do hours and hours on creating a calendar and sticking to it and why that’s so important. And it sort of in some ways can be a bit counterintuitive, because you think well, now I’m locked into this, this rigid structure, the reality of it is by being in such a rigid sort of somewhat semi rigid structure, you actually will get a lot more freedom, ironically, because you’ll you’ll be just accomplishing more, and you’ll find that you’re more efficient and effective. So thank you. That’s such great advice.
Jim Starwalt 19:23
You want to hear great big gasp of everybody go. Don’t check your email. So don’t check, check your emails till 10am Don’t even look at it. Just Just don’t There’s nothing. There’s nothing there that you have to handle at 8am. You got a client who’s upset you got a client who’s pissed off, you got a client who’s just just anxious and wants to know How come the appraisal hasn’t been done yet? It’s still not going to be done by 10. Or more than likely it’s already been more than likely it’s already been scheduled. Is there no, no, it’s happening tomorrow at three. So don’t check your emails until at least 10 o’clock in the morning. So don’t go down.
D.J. Paris 20:01
No, it’s a good rabbit hole, because I’m sorry, it’s not a good rabbit hole. But it’s a good thing to acknowledge, to acknowledge that, that it’s the rabbit hole that I want, you know, I come into my office, I get here at, you know, 830 or so. And then I immediately go to my email, because that’s what pops up. And it’s, it’s easy for me just to make that the first thing and then I could tackle those 15 emails that I got over the previous night. But then the problem is I’m like, Oh, wait, what am I supposed to do next. And so I think a lot of us can relate to that. It’s like, same thing with like, with soon as you wake up, don’t put on social media either, because you’ll get lost in that rabbit hole. And then also, you know, I couldn’t agree more with Jim, you know, have certain times that you respond to email. And you can also have times that you don’t like, that’s okay, too, you know, know your structure, know, your customer service policy for you and for your clients, and make sure they know the expectations. But you know, you could split if you spent the first hour like Jim said, take their, you know, plan your next three days and take the rest of the off, you just did a massive thing. That’s absolutely right, like spend the first hour of the day planning or ideally the night before. But if you don’t, if you should do that first so that you know, when I wake up, oh, I don’t check my social media until next time, otherwise, you just get caught up like the rest of us, we’re all human, we get caught up in things. And then we lose a lot of the day,
Jim Starwalt 21:19
my calendar is filled every spot for the next 10 years at 133 30 and 530. It says client appointments, all I have to do is go in and change that one. So it’s just it’s just the structure and the having it not check your emails. First thing in the morning, is, first of all, you’re also training your clients that I’m not I’m here for you, but I’m not on demand. And that starts right off the bat, they have to understand that I have a life too. When they send you a text, I have to take my agent take their phone, I’m like, What are you doing? You’re going back and forth six times on text with this person. Answer once say, say you’ve got some people with you, you’ll get back to them in an hour. There. Okay. They they, I understand that this is our clients, this is their whole life is that deal. It’s very important their Eat, eat, sleep, breathe real estate for 30 days of their life. Right? And so they’re they’re in it. So they know what’s going on. You also know what’s going on too, but your whole life can’t be their deal with them. You need to let them know that I will answer your questions. I’m taking care of it. But when you text me or you send me an email at nine o’clock at night, I am not answering that phone. That problem will still be there in the morning. So how many of us have I’ve done that for years, you grabbed that phone call at nine o’clock. And now you’re thinking about it all night long, and you don’t get a good night’s sleep and you can’t function the next night because somebody’s mad, because the appraisal came in low. The appraisal still low tomorrow, let’s we can handle it at 10 o’clock when I check my email, you know? Yeah,
D.J. Paris 23:01
I I couldn’t agree more. I want to go back to the texting thing as I was thinking about this while you’re really saying this in a way that I hadn’t thought about before. Which is to say that, you know, people who text the person texting, wanting the question, the customer to the agent is expecting an immediate response if that’s their expectation. And so as Jim was saying, you know, this is something you could talk to the client ahead of time, and you should tell them how your communication policy works. So say, hey, just FYI, I try to respond to texts quickly. But it might take me up to a certain amount of whatever time is applicable to you to reach to return that call because a return that tax. Because if you reply instantly, and then they go back, like you were saying like five or six times, and then all of a sudden you get a client phone call, or somebody walks into the office, or you just have an appointment to get to or whatever. And you can’t continue that back and forth. It’s a strange stop in the middle of a conversation to be like, Oh my gosh, so sorry, client just walked in. So I think having that policy upfront, like, hey, when I get a text, if I can respond to it right away, I do. If not, please allow me some time. And I think because I was thinking about that if I was texting back and forth, all of a sudden the person disappeared. You know, that might be worse in a way.
Jim Starwalt 24:20
Yeah, that’s that’s a great point is that once you’re once you’re in it, then you stop. It’s like how do you how do you stop you send some the thumbs up emoji and then they send it okay. And then you said, Okay, are we done? Yeah, no. So I like that. That concept of it too, that they’re going to be disappointed in you. This business is all it’s almost less about disappointing the people you’re working with. Not disappointing the people you’re working with setting the right expectations. So again, I go all the way back to it is not about you. I don’t care if it’s your first day of real estate or you’ve sold 10,000 homes, when you go in that it is not about you or how many homes you’ve sold or have not sold. When you when you go in and go into listing appointments just a little bit, yeah, okay. Yeah. Okay. When you when you one thing, the very first thing I teach agents is personality profiling does DISC personality. Yeah, you need to know who you’re talking with. I am a, a D. So I’m A, D and I. So I’m very forward. And I love to have fun. We have lots of parties and barbecues, and any things that anything’s a reason to get some chips and nachos out. And let’s get the margaritas out. So there’s a there’s a bar right in my office on. We have a lot of fun. But it’s taken me until I start teaching and coaching for the last bunch of years to understand that my personality is only 10% of the population of the of the earth. So that means my style has the potential to piss off the other 90%. So people will laugh because I’ve done it so long when I start talking to somebody, and my voice will automatically go a little bit soothing. And I’ll lean in, it’s not disingenuous, and it’s I’ve trained myself that I need to pay attention to them. Sure, you know, the old match match what they’re doing, and I do it not even conscious because it’s it’s my work personality is different than my normal personality, because I’ve learned to temperate. So when you call me and you say, Hey, Jim, come and talk to me about my house. I’m thinking about selling it. The very first question I ask is, tell me about your house? Yeah, you tell me that it’s a three bedroom, two bath, 2600 square feet. And it’s in a neighborhood. And here’s a couple facts. Well, I know that this appointment is going to be about facts and figures. If you’re telling me oh, I just love watching the grandkids play in the family room. We’ve gathered there for years, and we have our Thanksgivings. And it’s such a warm place. I know that that’s the nightmare appointment for me, because I’m going to have to spend two hours in there listening. I do care, I love people. But my personality is you have a problem. I’ll solve it. Let’s go, right. So when grandma’s telling me about, you know, we’re walking to the house, I’m looking, I’m seeing the pictures of the grandkids, and I’m seeing them on a swing, I’m seeing if they’re in the backyard, I’m going to ask about those things. I will get that appointment without ever showing her a number. I will not open a listing book it for either of them. So I’m going to talk to their personality, the person that wants facts, I’m going to look in the eye and I’m gonna say here’s the deal. We both know what your house is worth. I know you’ve looked online, right? You’ve looked at Zillow, you’ve looked at cetera. And so I have of course, of course, I know what that is. And I’ve already got it written down. So I have some numbers. So what are you thinking? This is? What I understand you brought me here to this my job? Why are we I’ve already got it in here. And I’ll show you but I just got to make sure we’re on the same page. I think. I think it’s like 250. Okay, great. Look, that’s exactly what I had. So you’ve already looked me up, you didn’t think about me? What do you say? We just signed the paperwork and I get to work. That’s my listing presentation. If you don’t know my golden nugget, there it is.
D.J. Paris 28:17
That’s it. That’s a huge golden nugget. So let’s let’s break down what you just did a little bit, because I think I think this is really, really important. First, you didn’t try to sell right, which I think most people, a small percentage of people like to be sold to I think most people don’t, they want to be understood. They want to feel like you care. You’re doing that. Even though you say hey, necessarily. I’m the guy that just wants to get it done. Get to the point put me to work, I’m your worker, but you’re able to still communicate in the language that the client needs, which isn’t is as you were saying, of course that’s not disingenuous. In fact, in some ways, it’s even you could even say it’s more complimentary because you’re like, I’m going to communicate with you in the style that you prefer, versus what’s necessarily natural to me, which in your case, you’re like, only 10% of the population is has that DISC profile. So I think that’s really really smart. But yeah, I love that that you’re like I have you know, I you probably have a listing presentation in case you need it, but you clearly are able to connect in a way that doesn’t require that I think that’s amazing.
Jim Starwalt 29:21
So I had an agent, and this agent was in tears. I’ve been on nine listing appointments, and I have not got any of them. Look at my materials. They’re absolutely gorgeous. They’ve got this book that’ll knock your socks. I wish I could do that kind of marketing. I’m like, holy moly, this is gorgeous. I told this agent I said the next thing you have to do the next listing appointment you go on. There’s always a wall or summer table or something by the door you need to set all this wonderful listing book that you have. You need to set it on that and I don’t want you to even touch that again until they agree to list with you. This agent got to know Next four in a row.
D.J. Paris 30:02
I love it because that enabled her to do the most important thing which is connect with the with the client and listen. So smart.
Jim Starwalt 30:09
If you’re a good agent, your brokerage already told you, you’ve got the materials, you’ve got the pre list packets, listen to what they’re saying, Send that pre list packet over, you know that they’ve already looked at it, because you can see they opened up the email and you can see that look that we use toolkit CMA, because you can see when they’ve opened it up, and I know that they viewed it, I don’t need to talk about it. So it’s not about me, it’s not about my tools. They think all realtors are the same and have the same tools. And we’re all the same. I’m the only one that listen to him. I got a quick story. I got one up to I had listed a house from a complete stranger in seven minutes. I love this. I know exactly the time. I’m pulling up to the driveway and he’s got a big oversized Jeep and it’s muddy. Okay, I know this is an adrenaline guy. Yeah, I know, he doesn’t care that much about details because it’s still muddy. I look at there’s a there’s a dirt bike stuffed in the corner of the garage, leaning against the garage, a couple skateboards, etcetera. Beautiful house and you know, a great, great person. I walk in the door and I say, you know, so how are we doing? So can you show me around the house? And I see his eyes go down a little bit. And I said, Look, I can tell you’re not in the mood for any type of sales pitch. I’m like, we both know your house over 250,000 What do you say we do the paperwork and I can get I can get out of here and start my marketing. That’s the that’s the whole conversation I had with him. He goes, I love you. Let’s sign that papers. He did not read a piece of paper. I need to explain the paper. But is there a he had an all I said, Okay, sign here, sign here, sign here. Let’s put the price on, I’ll send this to you. And I was out the doors back in my car in seven minutes. That’s amazing. But it wasn’t about me.
D.J. Paris 31:42
It wasn’t about it wasn’t about you. And also you were able to, to use, you know, in intuition and logic to make some assumptions about how this person communicates what they want. And then of course, how to give it to him. I think that is amazing. How would you recommend agents start to develop that skill? Obviously, listening is one thing, but being able to sort of discern, oh, this type of client that this probably is their communication style or their personality.
Jim Starwalt 32:11
You need to take a class on DISC personality profiling. And I like the disc I like that because it’s very simple. I have one that I that that we that we teach. It’s put on by by Dave Ramsey with Chris Hogan is the one that does it. And it’s phenomenal. It’s funny, he it’s made my marriage amazing. Susan laughs because now I realize that, that she’s not just crazy that she when I come in with a great idea. Now I was like, Hey, we got to do this. And she’s like, That sounds wonderful. Let’s talk about it tomorrow. Tomorrow, we have another idea. So if I still want to talk about it tomorrow, we’ll talk about it. But I used to she she’d make a face and she’d go like this. And I’d be like, what, what, what’s the matter with my idea, and I’d be offended that she didn’t jump all over my idea and share my excitement. So now I know that I need to present an idea. Let her think about it. And then we’ll talk about it in a couple hours. Now she’s got it down to about 10 minutes. So I give her a hug 10 minutes to digest something so. But it’s I think everybody who is getting married should pick the DISC personality profile. I think everybody in real estate needs to understand who they are. Because understanding who I am first helps me relate more to other people know that I need to slow down a little bit. So different personalities are funny. So my agent Randy, he used to be a newspaper publisher. He was the editor. He was the he was a top dog. So he’s very good at asking questions. So we’ll do call ours at our at our office like okay, who’s afraid of using the phone? Let’s go we’ll put it on speakerphone. We’ll start cold calling Zillow for sale by owners. And Randy, he’ll he’ll be on the phone for a half hour with somebody that tries to hang up on him. And he’ll get the appointment in the same amount of time I’ll go through 25 calls and I’ll get an appointment. Right. So again, I pissed off 24 people and made one happy. So it we have to understand who we are.
D.J. Paris 34:23
Yeah, and this is, you know, it’s funny. So what I do during the day is I you know, I tried to recruit realtors to work at our firm. And I’ve been doing it for 10 years. And it’s it’s, you know, I probably have a natural ability, I’ll just or just through the experience. I’ve had to sort of know how to do that. But have I formally really been trained in something like disc or a different personality profiles like No, not really. And you just gave me a great idea, because I’m sure I haven’t always communicated in the way that the person who may be interested in joining our firm needs to hear. I just kind of do it the same way oftentimes. So thank you because that’s going to help Be,
Jim Starwalt 35:01
they might not need training from you. So we try to tailor we try to tailor our training, because that’s who your personality is. You don’t, you don’t need to change it. But you just need to understand who you’re talking to and need to understand what you are. So makes a big difference. So yeah, ever, like I said, I had the agent that didn’t close on anything, but was amazing at putting together these these listing books and minds in a three ring binder. And it’s pretty nice. We all have, we all have the stuff from our brokers. That’s what I use the stuff given us from corporate and I have three hole punch in snappad. And then I got my CMA in the back, but I don’t open it, I never open it, I don’t need to open it. It’s not about that. You need to understand that.
D.J. Paris 35:44
It’s not about that. I just I love that. And I think that’s such an important. Important point now. So now that we’re all you know, we’re at home, what are you telling agents to do just to stay active? Any any suggestions on how to challenge
Jim Starwalt 35:58
them, I challenge them to challenge them, I challenge them to get on Zoom, I challenge them to have started having one zoom consultation a day, get you I can get you on and I can pull up the multiple listing service. And I say, hey, EJ, let’s just check out the values your house just for fun. People are bored, they’re happy, they’re they’re thrilled to have something to occupy their time for a little bit. Let’s look at the homes in the neighborhood. Cool. Did you know you’ve got about $70,000 equity in your house. That’s awesome. Good job. Hey, if you know anybody else that wants a equity check, having we’re having give me a call. Do you know people that are worried about their jobs, or they do they need to start a home equity line of credit to get themselves through a couple of months, all your realtors out there, you should apply for a home equity line of credit, you may not need it, it’s not going to cost you a dime if you don’t use it. Keep your marketing going strong. So they should be educating themselves. They should be listening to podcasts, they should be watching, watching all there’s all kinds of free videos everywhere. I pay Tom Ferry gobs of money every single month. But I really don’t have to because everything’s on YouTube, everything they teach is right there. So educate yourself. But set a schedule, you’re not you’re not out of works. Don’t Don’t think you’re not working. Here’s the difference. Right now buyers right now are looking at two or three homes and buying when they do not want to look at 20 homes. So get them before you have from your business changes from here on out forever. You’re never going to meet a client that you haven’t met on a zoom conference call first. You’ve seen each other face to face and you’ve got it recorded. And you’re just you know, I’m recording this. So we can remember what we said. There’s a lot less chances somebody’s going to do you harm when they know you’ve got their image and who they are recorded.
D.J. Paris 37:47
Wow, that’s really a smart observation. And you’re absolutely right, whatever. Yeah, I’m really glad you said that smart. Right.
Jim Starwalt 37:55
So before we go out, let’s take a look. And let’s look at all the homes you got 10 homes you’re interested in. So let’s zoom in on this one here. 123 Main Street. This one backs up to the train tracks. Is that is that bothersome for you? Personally, I would like that because it’s no houses in the background. But but there’s no fences in this whole neighborhood. You said you had to have a fence? Do you still want to go look at this house. Now, Jim, I think we can eliminate that one. Let’s go to the next one. Let’s go to the next one. Let’s go to the next one. Let’s assume you know how to zoom in and click on the address and look at the backyard. Look at the whole rest of the neighborhood. We really want to put in ground swimming pool. Well, good 10 out of 20 homes have that there’s a real good chance you could put one here. So let’s eliminate homes down to two or three. And then you know we’ve taken 52,000 homes and eliminate it down to three. So I’m going to bring a contract. And we don’t want to waste too much time homes are going fast. So let’s let’s go out Saturday and buy a house. What do you say? I mean, this we’re never going to do business the same again, if you learn these tools now. Yeah. Sorry, I get passionate.
D.J. Paris 39:03
No, that’s no, this has been I’m at a bit of a loss only because I’m processing what you just said, because it’s been you’re communicating in a way that I we none of our previous guests have. So I’m really, really grateful for that. But you’re absolutely right. So much has changed. You know, we have we had an agent and our firm just was does mostly leasing and he said he’s done five deals in the last two weeks. Or maybe it was for four or five deals, all virtual tours other than that sight unseen. And he just, you know, did it that way. And he’s like, you know, when he goes nothing’s really changed. I mean, it’s changed as far as what he’s doing. But he says the activity is not really I mean, of course homebuying activity is has changed a bit but he’s leasing he says it’s still going really really strong. So just
Jim Starwalt 39:50
buyers buyers are out there. If you can get the sellers to commit Oh my goodness. Social media advertising is blowing up. The last ad I put out, we’ve got a, we’ve got a tool from corporate that we can do social added our social ads, Social Engine ads, and they got the Facebook and Instagram $149 My phone just didn’t quit. Because it goes for seven days, we had 16,000 views. We had, we had 1800 people engaged in the ad, meaning they clicked on the pictures and looked around. We had 179 people fill out the lead form. So Mike Myers is my six buyer’s agents are, were non stop. So we’re calling all 179 and staying after Him and who wants to get out? What are we doing? So social media is where you should advertising right now everybody’s at home looking for a distraction?
D.J. Paris 40:45
Yeah, go to go to where the girl or the customer is right and
Jim Starwalt 40:49
go to wherever the customer is. I guarantee any any of the large brokerages again, you’re going to you’ve got some of the same ad tools and stuff, talk to your talk to your managing broker, have them show you through them. You know, show me show me how it works. Let’s do this. So they should be it should be known how so? If not, they’d be happy to dig in and find out because they should. So
D.J. Paris 41:12
yeah, it’s it’s such a it’s such an interesting time. And you know, this is this is the time also for the sphere of influence to really be staying in touch because like Jim saying he’s you know, people are online, they’re still searching. And in fact, they might even be feeling a bit claustrophobic in their current conditions, and maybe wanting to expand, I think there’s a lot of a lot of people are going to be feeling that way, if not right now, in the immediate future, and when with returns to normal, but a great way to, you know, to make sure they know you’re there, and you can start having those conversations now.
Jim Starwalt 41:45
No, absolutely. And then right now in Illinois, they’re calling us essential. They’re letting us work. And it’s good, because we are not because we get to sell somebody’s house. But when you boil it down, and I teach this and I coach this you have to understand where we are the pinnacle, we’re up here. Because when we sell a house, the lenders get to work the title companies get to work, the home inspectors get to work, the painters are going to come in the moving companies, what is there 2530 Different companies that get work just off of one sale. Not to mention that if the when the people move in, if they get a fence, whatever goes on. So we are essential. And you out there need to understand that we’ve got a big responsibility to keep the economy going right when the economy fell out in oh eight anybody was still working on I was my business supercharged, because I worked 14 hour days, seven days a week, just like I’m doing now. And we let our staff all go and we’re me and Susan are doing everything in the whole office plus selling houses. So we’re paying our staff and making sure that they’re taking care of their families, but you need to work harder than ever, this is not a vacation. It’s it’s a wonderful opportunity. So I made a made a little I don’t want any color and take a word and you make words off it COVID-19 create opportunities via internet devices, contact 19 people a week on Zoom.
D.J. Paris 43:13
I love it. Say that once more.
Jim Starwalt 43:15
Create opportunities via internet devices, contact 19 People are weakened zoom. Clients past clients continue out. I don’t care if you’re not used to doing it. Call your mom on Zoom three times a week until you’re used to doing it, get on it and do it. I hate seeing myself when I see it. I like to see from the backend. See, my hair’s disappearing. And I’m like, man, but I guess that’s who I am. So what are you gonna do?
D.J. Paris 43:40
Yeah, and what you’re doing is two things. It’s connection. And it’s, you know, providing probably a little comfort, but also some opportunity, you know, this is a time to, to have those conversations and your clients. Yeah, nobody’s comfortable. I think, you know, doing this, especially with previous clients, especially if it’s a video there’s, there’s an intimacy to it, that can be challenging, but the client is probably thrilled that you’re reaching out to connect and to provide value. I mean, I think about all the professionals I have in my life, how many of them who I pastes serve, you know, service fees, do, how many of them reached out to me, since this all started just to check in or to provide some value, maybe one one of one of 15 You know, so it’s not a crowded space doing this will actually, I think will really impress the people who you’ve already worked with, or your people haven’t yet worked with you.
Jim Starwalt 44:34
So let’s go back to time blocking it doesn’t I’m gonna keep going. I’m gonna keep hammering that because that’s everything there is there is no golden nugget in real estate. There’s, there’s five there’s five basic and I’ve got to pull up over here. You can’t see it. But you’ve got open houses, you got your sphere of influence. You got your farm, you got your social media and you got your CRM, and they all intersect in the middle. It’s like a wheel now I call it my wheel of fortune. They all intersect. So when you’re talking you’re sphere of influence. You may put something on your social media, it may, some of your sphere of influence is your farm. If you’re going to time block, maybe from nine to 930 every single day until you’re left back out in the world, you study your farm. You should know how many three bedroom homes are in there. How many four bedroom homes real estate is hyper local. Don’t be the Lake County real estate professional. Don’t be don’t be the town, be the subdivision years, many years ago, I was college trail subdivision in Gray’s lake. And that’s all I marketed. There’s there’s 400 homes in there. If there’s 400 homes in there, and everybody moves every two years or every 10 years. How many homes is that a year that change hands as 40? Like if I can get half of those? That’s 20. Right? They’re just off my farm.
D.J. Paris 45:49
Wow. Just by being the grace like guy,
Jim Starwalt 45:53
and when I have those 20 listings in there, not the grace Laker the collar sale guy. Sorry, folks. Yeah, sorry. No, no, I’m
D.J. Paris 45:58
crazy like guy because like is Yeah, that’s a that’s a great lake is a big a big area. Yeah,
Jim Starwalt 46:04
I started out with one subdivision for five years. That’s all I marketed because other than that I marketed to my sphere. When I sold those homes in college trail subdivision, I did such a good job that they will refer me to somebody. So those 20 turned into 40. That that’s how real estate works. Don’t be everything be hyper local and hyper focused.
D.J. Paris 46:30
It’s so important. And it’s something that like, you know, no, your TrueNorth, right? No, no, the you want to be this, it’s like you want to be the biggest fish in the smallest pond. Right. So you in order to do that you have to hyper hyper focus and specialize. And even if it’s just a certain number of homes or certain number of miles that you that you really cover, you want to know it better than every other broker in town. And by doing that, you just create massive value to that community.
Jim Starwalt 47:00
Until everybody in that circumference knows who you are, you don’t need to expand out so you got to do videos, you’ve got to show what’s there, you’re going to info sparks and pull up the stats, you can you can show those stats, you can pull them up live on Zoom via Facebook. I mean, these tools are amazing. I did a stupid video, you can see him I just put shelves up in my office. So I thought, hey, I’ve got this really cool tip. So I did a DIY tip got nothing to do with real estate. You take an envelope, and you tape it right underneath where you’re going to drill and you open up so when you drill, the dust falls right into there. Oh, that’s brilliant. I won’t ever yell over fall over 400 views and a billion comments and such and tons of shares. But you kind of use this video stuff.
D.J. Paris 47:49
You know now, now’s the time, if you’re camera shy, now’s the time to practice so that you can feel more comfortable having these conversations because as Jim saying, this is the new normal, this is not going away, when once necessarily we return to some version of normalcy. This is this is going to be the constant. So better get used to it. And what a great opportunity now to practice.
Jim Starwalt 48:13
So I got a quiz for you. Do you know how many homes in Lake County have one bathroom?
D.J. Paris 48:19
I don’t, but I bet you do.
Jim Starwalt 48:21
They all do some have more? Yeah.
D.J. Paris 48:24
You know, I fell right into that without I wasn’t paying attention. Thank you. Yes.
Jim Starwalt 48:31
When you teach you, you have to have your corny jokes. And
D.J. Paris 48:36
I think pretty much all of my jokes are corny, so I can appreciate that. Well, I actually I would love to actually pause for this episode because I would love to bring you back and have you you know, with these the tips you’ve been providing today, it’s been a lot and really, really helpful. And I’d like to get you on a regular schedule, if you’re that available. So we can talk about that after but I also want to make to let everyone know who’s listening. If you’re a broker in the Chicagoland area and are interested in working with a firm like Better Homes and Gardens, STAR homes. STAR homes. That’s a that is Boy, that is a mouthful but it is a great company and a great brand. What’s the best way that that and by the way, not just agents but maybe a customer who’s looking to work, working for new realtor and looking for somebody from your team to work with what’s the best way
Jim Starwalt 49:32
you know what my cell phone is everywhere in the world, but it’s 224-627-7581 you can go to Better Homes and Gardens real estate. Just do a search you can find us your give me a call. You can send me an email. My cell phone has been advertised on the internet for over 20 years. So people like I’m not putting my phone on LinkedIn. But call me we’re always looking for talent. We’re very, very careful. You have to be somebody who’s willing to share in our office. Our office is open hotel concept and we encourage everyone to share. As I tell their office you’re in, don’t be afraid to talk to the other people in your office, the office, I was in had windows and everybody had paper taped over their windows. I said that would never be that office, you don’t have any secrets. If our office has an 8% market share, that means there’s 92% market share out there for us to get. So we are very collaborative office. We’re always looking for great talent. So if you’d like to come in and see if we’re a fit together, yeah, give me a call.
D.J. Paris 50:32
And and if you want to work with a realtor who doesn’t make it all about them, which I think is is it’s a simple concept, but an important one and one that has served Jim and his team very, very well, for over 20 years. Definitely reach out to him as well. He’s got lots of capable brokers. He himself, of course, it’s an extraordinarily capable broker is one of the top producers here in Chicago. So Jim, I want to thank you on behalf of the listeners for your time, and I really would love to bring you back to do this more regularly. So we can talk about that. But on behalf of the listeners, thank you for all the great tips and advice. On behalf of Gemini to the listeners we of course say thank you for continuing to support and listen to our show, we ask just two quick things before we go. One is to please think of another real estate professional that could benefit from having listened to this interview that we just had with Jim and send it over to them you know, you can send them right to our website, which is keeping it real pod.com Or just you know, have them pull up any podcast app and search they’ll find it. The other second thing is to find please follow us on Facebook you can find firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash keeping it real pod. We pod we obviously broadcast all of our video recordings of our episodes as well as our audio recordings. And also we every day we post an article that we find written online specifically designed to help Realtors grow their business usually just one a day and not to clog up your feed. But something that we think you’d appreciate. So again, facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pot. Other than that, we will see everyone on the next episode. Thank you hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Jim, this was wonderful. really had a great time. Thank you so much for being part of the show.
Jim Starwalt 52:14
I had fun. Thanks for helping having me on. I’m always love to give it’s my passion. So talk to you soon. I’d love to come back on