Why Real Estate Agent Success Is Dependent On Relationships & Connection • Kevin Van Eck

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Kevin Van Eck, the Executive Vice-President of Innovation and Education with @properties and Christie’s International Real Estate, talks about his transition from a paramedic to a real-estate agent. Kevin discusses the power of connecting with people and how real estate is a relationship industry. Next, Kevin emphasizes how technology is moving so fast (AI) and why agents should be up to date all the time to be more competitive in the market. Last, Kevin discusses the agents’ role in neutralizing and navigating the emotions of their clients.

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

Kevin Van Eck can be reached at (312) 208-1430 and kevinvaneck@christiesrealestate.com

This episode is brought to you by Real Geeks.


D.J. Paris 0:00
Today we’re going to be speaking with somebody who leads 1000s of top real estate agents across the country every single day and find out what he’s telling his agents to do. Stay tuned. This episode of Keeping it real is brought to you by real geeks. How many homes are you going to sell this year? Do you have the right tools? Is your website turning soft leads and interested buyers? Are you spending money on leads that aren’t converting? Well real geeks is your solution. Find out why agents across the country choose real geeks as their technology partner. Real geeks was created by an agent for agents. They pride themselves on delivering a sales and marketing solution so that you can easily generate more business. There agent websites are fast and built for lead conversion with a smooth search experience for your visitors. Real geeks also includes an easy to use agent CRM. So once a lead signs up on your website, you can track their interest and have great follow up conversations. Real geeks is loaded with a ton of marketing tools to nurture your leads and increase brand awareness visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and find out why Realtors come to real geeks to generate more business again, visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod. And now on to our show.

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 Parris. I’m your guide and host through the show. And in just a moment, we’re going to be speaking with Kevin Van Eck from add properties and Christie’s international real estate before we get to Kevin just wanted to let everyone know if you’re not following us on social I really want you to and not because I want to have a big follower count. Although I guess I do want to have a big follower count. But that’s not the reason I’m saying this. Because you know, you don’t owe me that. But I feel like I owe you more content. So what we’ve started doing is clipping our episodes, including this one. And what what that means is we’re finding short form sick 45 to 62nd clips of bite sized information extracted from the full episode that you guys can absorb every single day we’re publishing these daily or every weekday that’s not on the weekends. I’m a little too lazy to do that on the weekends, but during the week they were publishing one of these every day and we publish them to all the social media channels including Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, probably a few others on Twitter, that’s the other one. Anyway, find us on there. And the easiest way to do that what’s the easiest way to go to our website keeping it real pod.com I think I have all of our social links on there if not just whatever social platform you’re on. Search for keeping it real hit that subscribe button and then you’ll see those daily bite sized videos that will give you just a little bit of wisdom or hope every single day from one of our brilliant guests. Okay, I’ve made the pitch long enough please follow us on on Instagram, Facebook, etc. We appreciate it and now onto the main event my conversation with Kevin Vanek.

Today, my guest is Kevin Vanek with have properties Christie’s international real estate here in Chicago. Let me tell you more about Kevin as executive vice president of innovation for Christie’s international real estate Kevin plays a central role in developing and implementing a range of programs to drive growth and success among network affiliates and agents. These include technology agent performance, recruitment, retention, and third party partnerships Kevin’s experience as an agent, managing broker and agent performance coach and his role in developing brokerage technology gives him a unique perspective that few in the industry have a native Chicagoland Kevin graduated from the University of Illinois is an Army veteran and a world traveler. Please learn more about the brands that Kevin represents, which is at properties as well as Christie’s International to learn more@properties.com and Christie’s real estate, a Christie’s real estate.com Both links to those will be in the show notes. Kevin, welcome to the show.

Kevin Van Eck 4:25
Hi, DJ, thanks so much for having me.

D.J. Paris 4:28
I’m so excited to have you on I was just at a meeting down at the Chicago Association of Realtors for this for this committee I’m on and your name, believe it or not came up. This is not a surprise as you are very well regarded and respected here in the Chicagoland area. But you now you know represent a brand that has moved beyond just the Chicagoland area, which is really truly impressive. So I’d love to well before we get to that, let’s tell I want to learn about your journey. So Tell me a little bit about how you got into real estate, why you got into real estate and how you got to where you are today.

Kevin Van Eck 5:06
Sure. And going back to what you started with, you know, I served at the Chicago Association of Realtors for a long time. So they have a very special place in my heart. So that made me really smile when you said that. So thank you. That’s very good. I think the when I got into real estate, it wasn’t planned. It’s really interesting. I’ve had sort of a career where I’ve hopped around quite a bit between different industries. Like you mentioned, I served in the army, I was a paramedic, I wanted to be a trauma surgeon. And right before real estate, I was in restaurant franchising, and it was

D.J. Paris 5:41
very different from being a trauma surgeon. That’s,

Kevin Van Eck 5:44
that’s it’s funny the path that we all take, because I don’t think we, you know, anyone ends up where they had predicted if you ask them at 18, right? Right. So for me, it was the beginning of the downturn, and the restaurant group that I was working with, they were starting to feel it, they were based out of California, and the downturn was impacting quite a bit. And I had a friend at the time who was in real estate and said, maybe you try it, I thought my first reaction was the market is crashing is probably not probably not the smartest time to get in. And then I thought about it. And I thought about how you know, during that market would be the time to grab market share, and to actually grow a business because there were so many agents getting out of the business. And, and I saw an opportunity. And I was nervous as anyone would be I was prepared financially, but jumped into real estate. And I didn’t, it was interesting. I didn’t know what I was doing like most of us when we first get into real estate. And I had to learn very quickly, especially because of what was happening in the market at that time.

D.J. Paris 6:45
Yeah, it’s interesting, I started as a financial advisor in 2001, after that crash of the financial of the tech market in particular, and the stock market and of course, the events of 911. And it was, in some ways, it was the best time to get started because people were exiting the business, they had been burned by their financial advisors previously, who had put a lot of their assets into technology. And so in some ways, it was both the hardest time to get started. But also really fortuitous time. And I imagine you probably feel the same way when you got into real estate.

Kevin Van Eck 7:24
Agreed, I think it was, you know, I didn’t know what the good times were what people call the, you know, tooth out early 2000s, when it was almost, I call it the disney world of real estate. And I didn’t know that. So all I knew to do was you know, from 8am to 6pm, or longer work connect prospect. And it’s funny because I didn’t learn, you know, I didn’t have a lot of mentorship. And I could share more about that. But I didn’t have anyone really teaching me the ropes. So I learned, you probably remember this DJ in a website called active rain. And it was one of the first real estate blog sites and they told, you know, they told agents just to write cards, go out to lunch, dinner, breakfast drinks, and just see your people. And that’s exactly what I did. And that’s really what what launched my career at the time.

D.J. Paris 8:09
Yeah, it’s amazing that those same principles have, meet as many people as you can connect with them, interact with them, have some sort of communication strategy so that you’re sending something to them of value every so often or having conversations of value is is really sort of the discipline that even still works just as much today as it did that.

Kevin Van Eck 8:33
That’s right. It’s the basics, right, going back to the basics. And because it’s always been a relationship industry, and I don’t think, you know, you and I are both very involved in tech and trying new things. And but that still hasn’t replaced that one to one, that communication relationship, face to face that we have with our clients and other agents and colleagues in the industry, too. I don’t think it’s you know, there’s a lot of been a lot of talk over the years, and especially now with AI about agents being replaced, but nothing replaces that relationship.

D.J. Paris 9:03
Yeah, let’s talk about AI. This actually came up in my committee meeting this morning, we were sort of laughing about one of one of our committee members, because of the belief that in 10 years Realtors won’t be needed. This is a realtor and he says AI is taking over this is what’s going to happen. And it was a very interesting perspective. And I don’t know that he’s totally wrong. I hope that he’s wrong, but I don’t know. I know that as technology has sort of gotten past the year 2000 We’ve been hearing that every almost every single iteration of any new technologies. This is going to replace realtors, you know, even even going back to you know, pre Zillow days, there was sort of this talk of like, oh, people are just going to look for homes online exclusively. Not really need a broker anymore because Realtors used to be the gateway to homes they’re not really the gate the gatekeeper anymore because anyone who has access to the internet can search basically the MLS without ever realtor and and still, but but the realtor is as needed. I met with a friend who is on the board of actually I shouldn’t say where but but a big big financial services firm. And he had said 12 years ago to me, you guys are going to be out of business as a realtor, we got a business attendance and this is a guy who knows things. And he was like, You got to find a new line of work because it’s It’s over for you guys. He was TechSoup. Turns out he was wrong. He was right about a lot of other things but wrong about that. And thank goodness, do you think AI is is threatening to realtors?

Kevin Van Eck 10:34
I think you know, it’s hard to say in the long term, right. But things are things are moving so quickly. If you asked anyone six months ago, what chat GBT was, you know, who wasn’t on anyone’s the common person’s layout? Radar. Right? So I think now but look how quickly so a lot of agents and brokerages and tech companies have adopted open source AI, it’s wild. So in the short term, though, I don’t I don’t think we’re threatened by AI. But I think what it’s the perspective we have to have is that it is competition. It is competition with us, where we have to raise the bar and understand what we need to do to create great experiences. And to be able to, in competing with AI be able to guide consumers based on the non tangibles that they share with us. So I think, you know, because AI right now, it’s very technical, it’s glitchy all of that. But I do think, you know, from a data and stats standpoint, it can be something, but we need to put it to use. And we need to make sure that, you know I talk a lot about experience and consumer experience, the AI can’t create a consumer experience like you can.

D.J. Paris 11:45
Yeah, the only way I see AI actually replacing the role of a realtor, which in my mind. And there’s a lot that Realtors do, obviously. And this is going to be a very, very incomplete definition. And I’m not here to make that definition for all of our listeners and viewers because I am technically one but I don’t want to practice. So I want to be very careful in what I’m about to say I’m not looking to to ruffle any feathers. But I believe one of the primary roles of a realtor is to really guide their clients through the emotional ups and downs of a transaction. And that if AI can somehow at some point in the future solve for that which I I don’t see that but maybe who knows, I think then realtors have have more of a sort of thing to worry about. But for now, the hardest parts of the transaction are that emotional sort of regulation, that distress tolerance, the ability to to be there and be present while news either as in your clients favor or against and just understanding how to navigate through that as your clients are freaking out or, and that’s something that that it unless AI is at some point able to really understand empathy, compassion, wisdom, experience, and be able to soothe someone and help them stay regulated through through through a transaction. I think realtors are safe.

Kevin Van Eck 13:10
I completely agree real estate’s an emotional transaction. It’s not, you know, residential real estate is an emotional transaction. So you hit the nail on the head with the word emotion because I think even, you know, look at look at some of the disruptors that have been out there, whether it’s open door, purple bricks, the ones that tried to replace the agent in terms of guiding the consumer into a property and offering up properties and guiding them through the transaction. It didn’t work. And it didn’t work. Even during the pandemic, when you know, consumers weren’t out shopping for homes, everyone immediately went back because there’s when we talk about the emotional connection, it’s that emotional regulation during the transaction that an agent knows how to navigate, but it’s also that consumer emotion when they step into the right property, and I get a feeling. So I think about I really did this was, I don’t know 10 years ago, I was in New York City at an Inman conference. And I couldn’t I couldn’t sleep. So I turned on the TV and there was a commercial, it was maybe a precursor to Carvana where you could order a car online. And I thought, This is wild. If people are ordering cars online, they don’t need to actually sit in it and drive it. They’ll just order it, we’re in trouble. Because the next step is if someone’s spending $75,000 on a car online, it’s not too long until they’re spending 150 300 $600,000. online buying a house but we didn’t see it happen. You know, it happened in some cases during the pandemic, but I’m not I’m not feeling overly threatened. I think it’s an opportunity for us to utilize AI to better serve and create that experience for our consumers.

D.J. Paris 14:43
And for anyone that isn’t from here in the Chicagoland area. Of course. 95% of our listeners aren’t. Our viewers are not but for those who aren’t familiar with at properties, you’re most certainly familiar with Christie’s international just even, you know being in auction house have previously and still being an auction house. But understanding the story of app properties is particularly a strong one. Because you didn’t just come around you were just mentioning disruptors, you guys were disrupter. And you were disrupted in a way where here in Chicago, one of the largest real estate markets in the country, I don’t know when our properties was founded. But but whatever, early, late 90s, early 2000s, whenever. And what they did is they were an independent brokerage, and they went toe to toe with the big franchise firms and the big, large legacy firms, the ones that we all know, and we’ve had lots of guests on from those firms. And those are great firms too. And not only did you guys became the number, I believe the number one independent brokerage in the country very quickly, and you basically grabbed all of the talent that was here in Chicago, they all migrated, not all but almost all migrated to add properties. Because what you guys were building was so unique, so special, and you’ve continued this dominance here in Chicago ever since. And now you’ve partnered with Christie’s and you know, you guys are branching out at properties, meaning is branching out to other other markets. Christie’s, of course, is always always in markets, and also branching out, but this was an impressive rise. And you guys were really at the forefront of that of that disruption.

Kevin Van Eck 16:22
Yeah, I think it’s interesting, too, because it wasn’t, you know, I won’t say it wasn’t intentional, we always had the intention to grow. And that comes from the two founders, Mike golden and fat long, and who are super intelligent people, you know, they were the number one and number two agents in Chicago working with another brokerage when they founded that properties. So that story is super interesting about why they founded that properties, and why they left their previous brokerage, because that’s everything that app properties have been built on, which is, you know, agent first, if you give the agent, the best tools, the best resources, the best marketing, you’re going to organically attract agents. And then you’re also going to be able to provide that that higher level of service for your consumer, so that they’re also attracted to the brand and attracted to the app properties agent. And so everything from that point forward. And now since our acquisition of Christie’s international real estate at the end of 2021. We’re doing the same thing for our affiliates. They’re, we’re we’re injecting our tech, everything that we’ve done in our properties to become number one here. We are now injecting into each one of our affiliates around the globe.

D.J. Paris 17:28
I believe I’ve probably had more at properties agents on the show than any other any other brokerage in even including the large the larger brokerages. So it is, you know, it is a really tremendous talent pool that now other agents can participate in. And you know, whether you’re here in the Chicago area or somewhere else, there’s a lot of really cool things happening with with that properties at Christie’s International. But let’s talk about let’s talk about sort of brokerages because I think this is I don’t know, I’m calling this the year of recruiting only because I we’re seeing a lot of movement here at our company, people going in and out, people leaving the industry to join like a holding company just to sort of say I’m out for a while. But people are switching firms, there’s lots of team building going on, teams are obviously actively prospecting for more recruits. So obviously, that that trend is here. And this is I think, a year where a lot of agents are just kind of exploring their options. So I’m curious to get your thoughts on if you were an agent or any suggestions you might have to our listeners who are agents about how they might sort of evaluate where they’re at and what other avenues they should pursue?

Kevin Van Eck 18:44
Sure, I think that’s a great question. And you’re right, it is it is the time where agents are looking, I would be looking, I would I would be assessing where I was if I were still, you know, working with clients and actively selling, but I think looking why that’s happening, I think it was easy for everyone to be a hero in 2021. Right, it was because of the pandemic and because of everything that was happening. It was easy for agents and you know, some agents don’t want to admit it, but the growth that we saw during that year was just wild and not that agents didn’t work hard but a lot of it was market driven. Well now that the market is not is not you know participating that way and the market has changed it’s time where agents are looking around to understand okay, what is my brokerage doing for me? What are the What am I getting for whatever my split is what am I getting in terms of support and tech and marketing and brand and all of that to make it easy for me to sell as much real estate as possible. So I think that’s why you know, agents are taking a moment to look around I think my my I have a series of tips that I give because I think you have to be thoughtful I joined the wrong brokerage when I got my license when we were talking earlier and 2007 When I got my license I joined the wrong brokerage because I didn’t Ask the right questions. I was promised some things they weren’t delivered, which is why

D.J. Paris 20:06
we’re gonna call those, by the way we’re just gonna answer that he was promised leads anywhere is not given leads. Because that this industry,

Kevin Van Eck 20:16
you are so right, whether it’s a team leader or brokerage, you know, offering leads. But for me it was at the time, I realized that I’d been with another brokerage for about four months, five months, and I was designing my own postcards on whatever website it was that website is still around. But it looked like in elementary school child had built it and it took me four hours. So that’s when I realized, okay, this is not going to help me grow my business. It’s taken me four hours to build something that looks like you could have done with crayons and construction paper. And there was no support in doing it. So I that’s when I started to look around. And I found out properties at the time. And that’s what I that’s what I think is the number one thing for agents is take the time to look around and recognize sit back. And if you are thinking about making a move, I would first talk with your current brokerage and make sure that you’re not missing something. They’re definitely right. I would make sure because think about it agents were busy agents are busy, they’re out with clients, you miss emails, you miscommunications, your current brokerage might actually be offering what you’re looking for. You’re just not taking advantage of it. So I think that’s the first thing. And then after that, then I would I would sit back and think about okay, what brands stick out in your mind what brand resonates with the consumer you want to work with? And then start interviewing and ask tough questions. Don’t be this is your career, right? So ask tough questions like, how have you helped other agents grow their business? Ask for specific examples. dig into the details. How does this work? What is the process when I need to x? Because everyone, we’re all salespeople, right DJ? So it’s very easy. For you know, whether it’s a broker owner or a managing broker to say the right things, or they have to show you the right, thanks. Yeah. And then you can make an educated Apples to Apples decision. Also, based upon cost versus value, which I think is sometimes where we don’t make the right decision. I think, you know, there’s, there’s a brokerage for everyone, there will never be one brokerage, you know, there was a brokerage recently that said they would eventually be the only brokerage available. Good luck. Yes, consumers want choice agents want choice, there’s always going to be a different offering. So. So I think though, the cost versus value, a lot of times we’re attracted to a higher split. But we don’t always understand what we get or don’t get with that split. So there’s the trade off. So every agent has to make a decision. Okay? Am I going to be putting my own signs in the ground? Or are they going to be installed for me, and that’s a very basic one, it goes much deeper, but examples like that, because I think what we find, and I know, you’ve seen it, DJ, which is agents will make a decision, but they spend more time on admin or installing signs themselves or doing all these tasks that aren’t directly related to business growth.

D.J. Paris 23:07
Yeah, I could not agree more. I think that my suggestion for anyone that is out there to piggyback on what Kevin said, just a little pro tip, if you’re talking to a recruiter, somebody like me, for example, I know I’m honest, but you know, know that I’m being honest. So what I would recommend, if you talk to anyone who is a salesperson who’s saying, hey, you know, come work for us, we have, you know, all these great tools and features, and you know, everything that you’re looking for great. And then what I would do is I would randomly call three of their agents, people that you respect that you admire, and that are not referred to you by the person you’re talking to, because they might stack the deck, right? So this idea of of being able to reach out and say, Hey, I was thinking of joining your firm, I had a great conversation with so and so. And I just want to confirm that, you know, this is how it actually works there. And and do you think this would be a good fit for me, and usually the the agents there, if you call them at random in particular, you need to know that they haven’t, you know, sort of stack the deck in their favor, but you’ll get you’ll get the truth. If you talk to three people, one of them, one of them will say, Well, this is exactly how it is.

Kevin Van Eck 24:12
It’s very good advice, you know, talk to the people that are actually utilizing what’s there and what the value is and communicate, you know, if they could talk about their relationship with the managing broker, if they could talk about all these things that typically don’t come up when you’re when an agent is talking with the managing broker during a recruiting meeting. But I think, you know, when I say there’s a brokerage for everybody, I’m not downplaying the brokerages where agents are putting in signs or maybe it’s a higher split for lower service. I think that they’re, you know, of course, there are some teams or there are some setups where maybe that maybe that team leader does just want to be a team manager, right and so they have all the pieces in place to make sure that they can take some of that off of their agents plate so but that’s it but it’s a big decision and you don’t want to we all know agents that have hopped around and that’s okay because They’re trying to find their place but you don’t really want to be that agent you want to make, of course everybody wants to make the right decision the first time.

D.J. Paris 25:08
Yeah, and very few agents do. Some people some agents do because brokerages can change over time. an agent’s needs can change over time. And right now, and I don’t know what what the stats are, I’d love to see stats on how many brokerages an agent, you know, who’s does this for 20 years is on I bet it’s at least two, I would guess it’d be somewhere between minimum of one obviously up to maybe two or three. Obviously, you don’t want to keep switching because that’s disorienting your clients say it’s disorienting to you, you’ve learning new systems, you’re adapting and changing all your marketing. And so it’s not something that anyone goes into this business going I can’t wait to just jump jump from brokerage to brokerage. But the cool part is you can if you need to, and if you want to, and at least here in the Chicagoland area, we have hundreds of options on literally hundreds. And so it these brokerages are all in competition with each other, whether you know whether they they say it explicitly or not. And so they understand this, and they understand that they’re unless you work as an employee, for example, you’re a W two employee that yeah, maybe you can’t just easily move, you’ve got obligations to your employer. But if you’re an independent contractor, like 99% of Realtors, are you the power is in your hand. And so you get to sort of go around and talk to other firms and say, Hey, I’m over here now, but I’m looking for this. Can you help me? And I think that that is a tremendous amount of power that an agent has

Kevin Van Eck 26:36
agreed it’s very easy to move your license, right. But I think that’s why you’re thinking through it methodical and not making an emotional decision as an agent if something happens, or if someone is willing you with a large sum of cash, whatever that incentive might be. It’s thinking through carefully, because oftentimes, the incentives aren’t worth you know, aren’t worth the move aren’t worth whatever they’re selling. So

D.J. Paris 27:00
yeah, I It’s interesting. In the last few years, obviously, you’ve seen this as well, brokerages have been really throwing a lot of money at producing agents to attract them over and they sign some sort of agreement that maybe it’s a 123 year deal, whatever it might be. And a lot of brokerages were just buying up agents recently in the last several years, and I am but these are brokerages that some of them have never been profitable. So it’s very interesting to me. I’m curious what’s going to happen when some of those contracts come due. And these agents are now free agents again and can freely move and all of a sudden, maybe they’re not getting the same split that they were promised years before or, you know, there isn’t as much cash that there being a bonus. So it’s gonna be a very interesting model. I know that that, you know, when he there’s a race to the bottom that that can happen with brokerages to where you can literally just go to the brokerage that like you were saying that, you know, we’re an example of a brokerage that is a high commission, low fee model. And, and yeah, we don’t do all of the services that a firm like at properties does. And we also don’t charge for it. So it makes sense. And we have agents that are better fit here, and they wouldn’t likely be a good fit at your firm and vice versa. And both can coexist. And both can coexist peacefully. And it’s actually really exciting that there’s all these different options for agents. And so but let’s I want to I want to talk about, I’m gonna switch gears just for a quick moment and talk about because this is something that I would love to get your take on, which is leveraging what you call feeder markets. First, let’s define what a feeder market is. And then what sort of what your take on those are.

Kevin Van Eck 28:47
Sure, well, I view a feeder market as when you look at migration, right, and this has been a big term in recent months, especially since the pandemic and because of the rise, you know, the elevation or increase in property taxes across the US in different states. And then of course, there’s this political, you know, veil that’s over everything. So I think when when we talk about feeder markets, it’s where someone is most likely to come from and where they’re most likely to go to. So a good example of a feeder market would be locally the Chicago market to or from Southwest Florida. It seems like you know, the Naples market and Marco Island, Southwest Florida is a huge Chicago is a huge feeder market for that region. Whereas, you know, New York might be a feeder market for Miami and the east coast of Florida. Yeah. And so those are the I think the definition is, you know, where are people most likely to come from? And then the question, you know, how do you leverage that? Well, let’s go back. How about how about how do you want to identify that it’s really interesting, I’m working with a broker owner named Nick. He is in the Caribbean islands, and he’s done an amazing job there with a Christie’s international real estate brand and bringing together affiliates in the Caribbean And they’ve created sort of this conglomerate group, which is really cool, because there’s a lot of movement between the islands there. The other thing he’s done, though, that’s really interesting. And what he’s taught me is a lot of time feeder markets are driven by direct flight routes, where if you can find a direct flight route from a specific city to let’s say, Salt Lake City, or to Park City or to the mountains in Colorado or somewhere else, that city is likely to be a feeder market for that market. And so we started mapping out direct flight routes, because anyone that’s buying a second home or a third home or a second residence, even where they’re splitting their time, they’re more they’re more likely to do it. If there’s a direct flight route. Yeah, my and then

D.J. Paris 30:42
my parents. We grew up in Peoria, Illinois. And for some i It’s so funny, you say that because it didn’t occur to me until recently why they had this. There’s a direct there’s an airport, and there’s a direct route to to Clearwater, and Tampa, Clearwater, which are two different airports, but basically, but they do have flights to both and I went, why wonder why Pyare to Tampa, and I was like, oh, yeah, because retirees go down there. And my parents are retired out there as well. So it makes perfect sense.

Kevin Van Eck 31:12
Yes. And that’s it. I think that Chicago to, you know, the Chicago to Southwest Florida to a lot of as, as locals have, you know, they bought second homes there or they retire there. So I think the way to leverage it, though this for agents, right, I think and brokerages. So if you’re a broker owner, and you’re thinking through this, we’re doing this, I’m doing a ton of research right now for Christie’s international real estate when it comes to, okay, can we identify the sleeper feeder markets, because we can I can name that New York, Miami, Chicago to Southwest Florida, LA to Atlanta, all of those, but what what are the sleeper ones that we don’t know about and then using digital advertising to be able to market on both sides. So for agents, my recommendation is, you know, obviously, work with your brokerage in terms of, you know, if you’re a part of something like a network like Christie’s international real estate, or if you’re not, and you can’t leverage that, because you don’t necessarily have that start making connections with agents in those markets, and have those referral sources and relationships set up. It’s a huge opportunity we often miss and especially in a market like this, when there are fewer transactions, you want more opportunities. That’s one way to to, you know, stabilize your income or even grow your business through that type of referral business.

D.J. Paris 32:22
It’s the most common request when I interviewed top 1% agents from markets that receive a lot of inbound traffic from other areas beat feeder markets. So the number one request I get from, from agents I interview who say, when I say what do you want me to promote, they’re like, make sure you tell your listeners that if they have people moving to my area, I would be honored to and these are top 1% agents. These are busy, busy, successful agents. And they, they see the value in this. So I think you’re right, it’s making fun making those connections, finding realtors in those areas that you can trade clients back and forth and pass referrals over. And also making sure your clients know that you can still assist them if they’re moving to Florida or you know, Georgia, wherever it may be that you have a network of trusted real estate professionals in those markets, that they don’t have to go search or they don’t have to ask their friends who have already moved there. You already you can help them, but you have to let them know that otherwise, they might not think to call you because you’re the local you know, Chicago guy or you know, whatever city you’re in

Kevin Van Eck 33:26
a grid, you can be number one here, but they don’t ask you about a different market, if they’re moving, you’re buying a second home or whatever it might be. So that’s a, that’s a huge tip is make sure everyone understands, you can service them or advise them anywhere. And I also think it’s educate yourself on those on those feeder markets, educate yourself so you can sound and speak intelligently about Naples or so you can speak intelligently about the market in Miami. And then the other thing is social media makes it so easy to share content. And LinkedIn has really grown from a platform like that I’ve seen more interaction and activity on LinkedIn than ever. And I think there are stats out there that reflect that. But I think that’s a great place to be able to share to your point DJ, making sure that other people know that you can service and are knowledgeable and you are a global agent, let’s say you can in through those connections you make you can share their content. So that you you are showing that okay, you’re not just local in, you know, Central Illinois or in Chicago or in Southeast Wisconsin, you’re you’re you have the ability to service and you’re knowledgeable about the real estate market as as a whole.

D.J. Paris 34:30
Yeah, I think to it, we’re talking about the idea of feeder markets, which I’m so glad you brought that topic up. We talk a lot about referrals, but to other markets, but not this idea of sort of being strategic in advance of the client saying, Oh, I’m moving here. Can you help me find somebody having that information? I was thinking when you mentioned social media of creating content, if it was me if I had a lot of clients that were nearing retirement age, just as a really simple example, and this is really an obvious example. So it’s not necessarily something I’m coming up with you nicly but it’s something that I think you could you could take advantage of anyone listening is do your research on where people from your market move to. Also, I would look to where places where maybe that are up and coming like you were saying emerging theatre markets, emerging places of retirement or second homes, and you know, start putting up content of, Hey, are you nearing retirement and thinking about maybe getting a second place or winter vacation or just moving entirely? Here are some options that you might not know about? And again, that’s not necessarily even specifically real estate related, although I mean, it is, but but it’s really content that provides value to people who are in that stage of life.

Kevin Van Eck 35:40
Absolutely. And one more thing. So continuing on that is, if you can, if you know why someone is moving from, let’s say, LA to Atlanta, or why somebody is moving, you can actually then speak to the value that your market brings, and what you do specifically for clients coming from that market, and offer other other areas that might fit. So to your point, the up and comers, I remember, I worked, we have a company in Atlanta Annesley. They’re the number one luxury real estate company in Atlanta metro. And I lived down there for a year, working with them and learning and setting them up, essentially, with all of our resources. And it was great, they have a second home market called Blue Ridge, and it’s just an orange couple of hours north of Atlanta. And that place that that it is so expensive, the affordability there has gone down because it was especially during the pandemic driven up by second homebuyers. Well, there are plenty of other similar lakes and areas around Atlanta that someone moving might not understand or know about. So if you’re familiar with your truly familiar with your market, and the opportunities that are there are those those I guess the you know, up and coming markets, you can offer more and attract attract those, those movers or migrants to your to your community.

D.J. Paris 36:59
Yeah, I could could not agree with this. This, this is such a great conversation, as we’re seeing a lot of the baby boomers are retiring, if not already retired, they are moving. This is a huge percentage of our United States population. So we we have a real opportunity here to I mean, financial advisors have known about this for years and years and years going, there’s all these trillions of dollars of retirement dollars are going to be flooding the financial advisory space, and financial advisors have been trying to gobble up their their their percentage of market share, this is a great time to do the same thing for real estate, is really understanding who your clients are. Or even maybe you don’t have a lot of clients who, for example, if you want to focus on retirees that are retiring, but what you can do is learn about that and you can go interview other agents and talk to them. And it’s been my experience. And I’ve again, I’ve had so many properties, agents on the show, Carrie McCormick comes on every single month since almost the beginning to talk about, but it’s been my experience, like people like Carrie and everyone else, basically, who’s ever been on our show is so incredibly generous with their time with their thoughts. You know, not every realtor is going to have time to chat with you. But if you reach out, you’d be shocked at how few how infrequently top producers actually get asked by younger producers. Maybe they’re intimidated, they’re afraid, they feel like oh, I don’t want to bother so and so. This whole show has been about bothering since we started at six years been bothering top top producers and saying would you please come on and tell our agents what you do by the way, we’re not paying you so can you please come on and do it for free take an hour out of your day. And you know what, I think we’ve only had maybe two or three noes in six years. People realtors are tend to be very especially really successful realtors, they understand the cooperative nature of this business, they understand that being of service giving, having a little bit of that Servant’s Heart kind of mentality. Really, it sort of lights them up. So this is a great opportunity this year to to like going all the way back to the beginning of the conversation is look at the realtors in your market that you truly admire, whether you want to work at their firm or just learn from them, and take them to lunch, take them up for coffee, you know, see if you can get 15 minutes with them. And you’d be shocked at the lessons you’ve learned

Kevin Van Eck 39:21
a grid and locally there’s an agent named Tommy and there’s an agent who’s a real legend in Chicago real estate and a million I remember Tommy telling a story when he first got into the business inviting out Millie for lunch and he was nervous because he was new and she was this you know, huge producer. She met him they went out for lunch and they’ve been friends ever since. And that was a long time ago. And and I think it’s true. Why do you get into real estate? Why why do agents that end up being successful get into real estate, it’s service. It’s what you said DJ? It’s so whether it’s service with our colleagues and helping them mentor from that way or servicing our clients. It’s all it all comes from the same perspective and mindset.

D.J. Paris 40:02
Yeah, we were so lucky that we all sort of work. We’re not all of us. But most of us work independently, or maybe on a small team or large team, what we’re basically doing our own thing within that team, or maybe it’s just us independently. And we have the opportunity to see what everyone else is doing independently as well. And, and take little bits and pieces from, you know, obviously not taking someone else’s content or someone’s exact idea, but understanding how that can influence or inspire you to do more things. And, you know, I, there was a woman who had been sending me, I got on her mailing list, she’s a realtor, I’ll mention her name, because she’s such a lovely person Nicole Hodge do with Dream town. And what she did for years before I reached out to her, she would send an email on Wednesday of every week, this is such a brilliant thing. It’s so simple, but it’s brilliant. And it said, here’s the fun things to do in Chicago this weekend. And it would have like five or six ideas. And I was like, That’s brilliant. It had nothing to do with real estate. She never once mentioned that we’re in real estate, but she still does this to this day. And I went, That’s brilliant. Because this is so much value to anyone who around Thursday or Friday go, oh, shoot, I got to come up with something to do this weekend. And so I called her just out of the blue. She doesn’t know me, I don’t know her, I just called her she picked up the phone. And I’m like, I just gotta tell you, like, you don’t know me. She’s like, No, actually, I do know you, I listen to your show or whatever. But I said, you know, you don’t know me, but but I am so impressed by this. And, and then she and I become fast friends. And it’s one of those things that a lot of times these people do these really cool marketing things or branded things and and they you know, they get a lot of great results. But if it’s inspiring you reach out to them and say like, how do you do that? Like, how did you think to do that, you’ll get so many great ideas, because you don’t have to, like you were saying, You don’t have to build the postcard anymore. You know, exclusively on your own, you know, we have tools to help with that. And Canva can kind of do it for you. And some AI stuff can do it for you as well. But I would talk to the agents who have the best looking marketing materials already, and just say, How did you do that? And what’s your firm help you with that? Did you do it? Did you have a lender help? You know, there’s lots of little tips and tricks that aren’t really accessible. But if you reach out to people, they will tell you?

Kevin Van Eck 42:14
Absolutely. I think that’s part of the real estate community. I think if I can go on to marketing soapbox for a second, if that’s okay, I think you’re talking about content, you’re talking about something that very early on Nicole was doing. And I saw a lot of that from Dream town where they had, you know, the five, top five things to do in Chicago or whatever. What, from a content perspective we have as an agent, you have to be different, right. And because I think one of the things that I’ve really been talking about in app properties we’ve been talking about is you can’t do the same thing that every other agent is doing. You can’t otherwise you appear to be a commodity when it comes to the service side. But from a marketing standpoint, it’s not that attention spans have gotten shorter, maybe they have, but that’s not the point. The point is now we are being overstimulated by so many things that everything is trying to get our attention. And there’s some wild stat out there about how many ads or product placements we see. In any given day, it’s astronomical. So you need to make sure that when people see your stuff, they stop. When they’re scrolling through your social media, they stop. And when we talk about just listed and just sold, those have a place, right, whether it’s a postcard or on social media or wherever it might be digital ads, they have a place but if someone’s not actively buying or selling, and that property is not know if it’s not a $100 million aspirational property that people can scroll through, they’re not stopping. Right, right. So I think I just want to encourage agents think about what else your clients are interested in. And we we talked about this at Christie’s international real estate, I know if I have a high net worth individual likely they’re into art, automobiles, wine, something, you know, bag, Birkin, bags, whatever it might be. They’re into these things. So I can now use content that they’re interested in. That’s not real estate related, which is a term or a phrase you use earlier.

D.J. Paris 44:08
Yeah, I boy, I could not I could not agree with you more this idea of of being different and just understanding what your audience wants. If your audience wants to see your success over and over and over and over again, then by all means post exclusively just listed just sold. I don’t really think that’s what anybody wants to see exclusively. But But I understand and you said it has its place, it’s a good thing, you should definitely celebrate your accomplishments. And you know, it’s it’s you should be proud of that. That’s great. And that’s not really content for your audience. That’s more of a local showing up a little trophy and that’s fine. But then it’s also like, okay, also I want to create a lot of content that people go hey, I need that. I need that content right now. I need to know how you know, tips on how to get my home ready to sell or I’m in between buying and selling homes. So I do just want to know what’s going on. So Especially this weekend in my area, or whatever the content may be, the good news is, it can be about anything as long as it’s applicable to your audience.

Kevin Van Eck 45:10
That’s right. That’s it. So thinking outside the box, you know, I don’t think doing the same thing. If it doesn’t make you stop scrolling, then don’t post, if it’s not something that you would click like or engage with and comment on, don’t post it, come up with something different, think a little bit harder,

D.J. Paris 45:25
come up with something different. Because when I first got into this industry about 11, or 12 years ago, and I still see it every so often, but there was that phrase that everybody put at the bottom of their email that said, and I know where it comes from, and it comes from a very good place a good source. So I’m not poking fun at the source. But but because it’s a legitimately great source. But I think every so many people adopted this exact thing, where at the bottom line of their email, they said, I’m never too busy for your referrals. It’s like, who cares? Like, of course, you’re not too busy for anybody’s referrals like that? Would it be comes it the first person who did it? Okay, great. And now the 100th person who does it in your local market, you know, everybody was buying websites that was like, DJ sells Chicago, real estate.com. That was another another big fat. And I’m not saying I’m not putting those facts down, I do understand that there’s no place for that was cute. And I’m not totally, I don’t want to put anyone off. But I think you could be a little bit more creative and do something just a little bit more unique, and have more impact, and certainly certainly get more attention.

Kevin Van Eck 46:23
Absolutely. And this ties across everything, I think you have to do something different if a lot of times, again, it’s not, especially with top producers sometimes, which is they’ve got a great business, they’ve been growing, they you know, they’re they’ve got their income is solid, they’re not necessarily concerned, the problem is if they don’t innovate, or try something new and do something different, from what their competitors are doing, their business will not continue to grow, and it will shrink. So I think the the idea is, you have to you have to differentiate yourself, whether it’s with a physical listing presentation, whether it’s with a branding book, whether it’s with digital advertising that catches eyes, you have to be different. Otherwise, like I said, people are going to miss they’re there, we become a commodity we come up, we can become an industry that post just sold, where there’s just these cookie cutter homes that we’re scrolling through on Instagram, that doesn’t really do anything for the individual agents brand.

D.J. Paris 47:23
Here’s a little little tip, I want to get your opinion, a little suggestion I might have instead of just doing a just listed just sold, which by the way, again, I’m not saying we’re not saying don’t do that, that’s still you should be celebrating your accomplishments. And what I think would be really fun is when you do it just listed or just sold, or just whatever contract or whatever the announcement might be. It’s also do a little video, go into the home and show a couple of cool things that are in the home. That is way more engaging than just hey, I just sold this million dollar home if you sell a million dollar home, I want to see the inside of the cell and show me something cool in by the way, because it’s a $200,000 home $150,000 Home, there’s still something cool in that home, there’s something unique. And there’s a story to tell, even if it’s a 32nd story, go in with your camera and say you’re not gonna believe what’s inside. So this is so cool. And or here’s the best feature of what I just this property I just sold. That’s the kind of stuff that people go okay, cool. We’d like to see things like that.

Kevin Van Eck 48:18
It’s absolutely right, the word you use with story. We have to be better storytellers. You know, whether it’s like, what you’re saying is, can we tell a story about the experience we created for our buyer or our seller, tell the story that highlights that consumer and how you made their their transaction as seamless as possible, you did something that is unheard of. And it doesn’t mean like 2021 Everyone’s posting about how their average sales price to list price ratio was 101%. Yes, everybody’s was 101%. Right. So that’s not unique. But if you have a story to tell about a way that that transaction went, and if you also have a story to help guide clients now I think storytelling is an art we have to continue to master as agents. Because whether it’s helping and supporting and advising a client and how to price their home now as the market is changing, using cautionary tales using success stories, you have to use these stories because people relate to them. And so if you can do that with your successes to exactly what you’re saying, DJ, instead of a just sold Hey, I sold this it’s more about telling a story. How was this a unique experience or to your point, story about the home, talk a little bit about the history of the home or what that you know, that unique aspect of the home that they won’t see elsewhere.

D.J. Paris 49:34
And you can also talk to I think about the challenges that clients face throughout the buying and selling process and I think telling those stories is incredibly valuable because then that homeowner who might be in the middle of that process of buying or selling and they hit a roadblock and it seems bleak and they’re depressed or or they’re angry. Stories like this can help soothe the PERT the afflicted A customer because you can say, Hey, I’ve been through this before. And this could be a one to one conversation, this could be a social media conversation. But this is something that people need to feel that they’re not alone. And this is an opportunity for people to feel like, okay, other people go through this, I will be okay. So it’s such a such a great suggestion. And this is, I think, a great place. Because we covered a lot of ground here, I think it’s a great place to, to, to bring this episode to an end. And I just wanted to sort of go over a couple of the things we talked about today, as a recap, because we did, we did cover a lot. First, you know, obviously, we talked about Kevin and his, his rise through throughout, through add properties. And now Christie’s International, we should also mention, by the way, but before I conclude all of this, that Christie’s and our properties are always looking for quality agents who are thinking that they need more from their brokerage. And this is a great opportunity, you know, 2023, this is the year people are exploring, they would love the opportunity to see if they might be a good match for your needs as an agent. So I know you guys aren’t in every single market in the country, but you’re in a lot of them. And so if you have the itch to want to see what other options exist, just go to add properties.com also visit Christie’s realestate.com, I will have links to those in the show notes. See if there have local offices, by the way, they’re expanding, too. So they are opening offices everywhere. And I’m telling you, at properties came to Chicago against all odds and basically rose to number one, very quickly under the tutelage of as you mentioned two very very intelligent great guys, but did it and and they have a lot of knowledge. And that’s just just a great company. So could not and Christie’s the brand Christie’s of courses is so well regarded to a white glove brand. And it is it is just an awesome, awesome company. So I I’m the biggest app properties fan out there, even though I don’t work there. But I am a huge fan. So if anyone out there is exploring, please check out our property. So we talked about what what it’s like to maybe switch brokerages what questions you get some great suggestions on how to explore other options that we also talked about, you know, leveraging these feeder markets, this idea of how do we think beyond our current transaction? You know, where are some trends that maybe are happening in the future? How can I start, you know, creating strategies to make connections with agents and other markets? How can I you know, start to really develop that that additional sort of revenue stream by finding out you know, where my clients are going and where they’re coming in from and, and developing relationships. So you can have that two way interaction and get those phone calls once in a while, it’s like, Hey, I’m a broker down in Florida, my clients moving to Chicago or vice versa. That is a really, really powerful connection to have. So I’ve had agents on the show, by the way that literally fly to other markets, just to meet with agents to really say I am so serious about sending clients are way that I want to make sure that you’re the right person. So if you know that’s another, if you really want to step it up, that’s a great, great opportunity for sending a lot of people to a market, I’d be visiting that market as often as possible and, and making my presence there known to make sure that you’ve got great partners there. So anyway, this is a great opportunity to really explore your brokerage this year to explore you know, some of these feeder markets, also to understand that AI is not yet taking over and hopefully won’t take over. You know, we won’t become slaves to to the ai, ai machine. But who knows, I guess we’ll find all find out together. But in the meantime, your jobs are safe, because the one thing that AI can’t quite yet do, and hopefully never can is handle our emotions, and really give us guidance that is based on not just facts and understanding, you know, sort of the, the the intricacies and the subtleties of life that aren’t black and white. So, for everyone out there, please go visit@properties.com also Christie’s realestate.com links to those in the show notes. Kevin, I’m such a fan of yours. I’m so grateful that you took time out. I know how busy you are. So on behalf of our audience, we appreciate you. While we were doing this, we had the highest number of people ever watching us. I was telling Kevin ahead of time to go don’t worry, we’re recording this live broadcast live. No one’s gonna watch it. There was like 30 people watching which is incredible. So this is just how this is because of Kevin not because of me. So this is how respected this man is. Kevin’s a great guy. He’s He’s a real leader in this industry. And you know what he says is always a good idea to pay attention to because he just knows a lot. So we’re grateful on behalf of our audience. Thank you, Kevin. And on behalf of Kevin and myself, we want to thank our audience for sticking around to the very end. We love you. We honor you. We are so grateful we do this for you. And please support our sponsors. Please support Kevin checkout at properties and Christie’s International. And we will see everybody on the next episode. Thank you Kevin.

Kevin Van Eck 54:58
Thank you so much DJ. It was an honor Good to be here.

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