Welcome to our newest monthly feature, Close-ing Time – in partnership with TheClose.com.
Chris Linsell, staff writer and real estate coach for TheClose.com, sits in on the podcast to discuss branding and why top real estate agents are spending more time and money to make sure their branding efforts are consistent. Also, is purchasing internet leads still a good idea in 2020? Last, we talk about the best marketing strategy of all – providing value. How do top producers provide value on a consistent basis (before and after the sale)?
Chris Linsell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To watch this interview on YouTube, please click here.
D.J. Paris 0:00
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris, I am your guide and host through the show. And today in just a moment, we’re going to be featuring Chris Lindh Sal, who is one of the editors and head writers for the clothes.com This is a partnership was kind of a long time in the making, we have always wanted to partner with a news organization to bring to our listeners information and content that is up to date cutting edge and what is going on in the market. But specifically news that Realtors want to know about. So the clothes.com does exactly this. They focus a lot of their content on marketing and what marketing trends they’re seeing to help other realtors grow their business. So this is exactly what we do on the show as well. So this is a perfect synergy. We’re so honored to have them as our news partner, and Chris is going to be coming on every single month to tell you what is going on in the world of real estate that Realtors need to know about. So we’re gonna get to Chris in just a moment. Before we do, I want to remind everyone to tell a friend think of one other realtor that you know that could benefit from listening to top producers that we have featured on the show every single week along with our regular guests like Chris and pass this podcast over, you can always send them directly to our website, keeping it real pod.com where they can stream every episode. By the way, we have a new website coming and we’re just running into a few glitches but should be solved in the next week or two. But the old website works just fine as well. And then lastly, please follow us on Facebook, go to facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod. Not only do we post an article every single day designed to help you grow your business that we found online from places like the clothes.com. But also we of course post every episode we’ve ever do. And we also now have video, and we broadcast behind the scenes videos of us recording our episodes live on Facebook, we stream them live. So if you can’t wait to see some of our inner or listen to our interviews rather, you can watch them in real time while we’re recording them on Facebook. So again facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod. And as always, thank you for listening. We appreciate it. Thanks for telling a friend thanks for following us on Facebook and now on to our interview with Chris Lonzo from the clothes.com.
Today on the show, we are starting a brand new feature by the way, welcome to the keeping it real podcast we I am your host DJ Paris I am your guide and host through the show. And of course as you know, we now have video. So we’re really excited about being able to show you what our interviews now look like. And today we’re also adding a brand new feature by the way we believe we are we may very well be the largest podcasts in the country made for real estate agents by real estate agents. So thank you for continuing to support our show. Remember to tell a friend and also subscribe you can visit us at keeping it real pod.com and you can subscribe of course through iTunes, Google Play Stitcher, Spotify, Pandora, anywhere podcasts are served do a search for keeping it real, you should be able to find us or our website you can stream every episode we’ve ever done keeping it real pod.com. But today, we have a brand new feature and we are super, super excited about it. So I want to tell you guys what we are doing. Since we started the show, oh gosh, I don’t know maybe almost three years ago now. We focused on interviews almost exclusively with top 1% producers. We first started here locally in Chicago just interviewing Chicago brokers and then we’ve expanded as our listenership has expanded nationwide. So we’re still doing that that isn’t changing. We have we’ve in addition to that we’ve added on a lot of regular segments monthly segments like Carrie McCormick who comes on every single month to do a Chicago market update. Now that we’re nationwide we want to focus on in addition to all the other exciting regular series, we have want to focus on some nationwide news that will help our listeners which are Realtors mostly know what’s going on in the industry. So we’re very excited to announce a partnership with the close.com. Now if you’re not yet a reader of the clothes, let me tell you a little bit about them. So the clothes is a new kind of real estate site designed to give agents teams and brokerages actionable strategic insight from industry professionals. So they cover real estate marketing, lead gen technology, team building strategies from the perspective of working agents and brokers who want to take their business to the next level. So we saw an instant synergy between what they’re doing on the print side, and what we’re doing on the audio side and now video side. Now, please visit the clothes.com and subscribe to their newsletter. Also add them to your RSS feed reader so you can get notified each time they publish an article and today on the show, and we’re going to have him on every single month we have staff writer and real estate coach Chris Lynn sell. Now let me tell you a little bit about Chris and Chris is one of the closes resident experts on real estate topics ranging from marketing lead generation transaction best practices, and everything in between. He’s a licensed agent in the state of Michigan. Chris has also been part of hundreds of transactions from modest rural starters, to massive waterside compounds. And I wonder Chris isn’t working a writing find him fly fishing, and the trout streams of Michigan or onstage in his community theaters latest production. So Chris crystallin sell Welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.
Chris Linsell 6:42
DJ, thank you so much for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here with you excited to get to talk shop with you and to share some insights with your listeners.
D.J. Paris 6:54
Yeah, thanks. Thanks for being here. We were really excited. We’ve tried to partner with a real estate news source for some time. And we’re so glad to have found each other. Tell us a little bit about the website for those of us that aren’t aren’t as familiar.
Chris Linsell 7:08
Yeah, absolutely. So I gotta be honest with you, I’ve been in the real estate industry for close to a little actually, I hate to I feel old. Now I’m saying it but but over 10 years now, I’ve been involved directly in the real estate industry in one way or the other. And I’ve always felt, especially when I was a newer agent looking to level up, I was always feeling like I was missing a resource that I could use to provide me with not just strategy and insight into best practices, though those things are really important, but also to provide me with reviews and suggestions on tools that I can use to better my business. And I’m really excited to say that the close kind of hits all those marks the close is a website that is just for real estate professionals. 99.9% of our readers, and and regular visitors are licensed agents and brokers and our mission statement on the close is to be the best answer to real estate questions. So we focus on things like best practices that are going to improve an agent’s performance not just financially but also personally and professionally, and relationship wise with their clients as well as looking at topics within the industry that are important to an agent’s overall business development. And taking a look at the tools that agents are using, especially from a technology perspective, that are going to both increase their performance, and also make them the go to resource for their clients when they have questions about stuff. So we provide a whole range of services and we get a lot of great traffic right now. Upwards of 250,000. Visit clothes at one time or another. And that is that’s growing dramatically right now as we’re continuing to increase what we have to offer there. So definitely a great spot and we’re excited to welcome some more people into the fold.
D.J. Paris 9:18
Yeah, and we’re excited to have you as well. You know, the reason we reached out to the close.com when when we first started talking about having a partner to come on the show was because we were posting every single article they were writing on our keeping it real Facebook page. By the way, if you’re not a subscriber of our Facebook page, you should be because you’d be able to watch this episode live in real time. So visit facebook.com forward slash keeping it real and also, we’ll post a link to the Facebook page for the clothes which is facebook.com forward slash the clothes spell it out.com So we’ll send that out so you guys subscribe to both but we were publishing every single article you guys were reading, writing rather because and just happened to be that we were like wow, this website is So impressive with the quality of the content. And we couldn’t find another website out there that was really doing this. So you guys obviously have found a unique niche. And obviously people are responding to it because of the size of the readership that you have. So congrats, congrats on all the success there.
Chris Linsell 10:17
Oh, thanks so much. Yeah, you know, we’re definitely in a growth mode. Anyone who’s in business knows about, about the the strong years and the lean years, and we’re definitely in one of those growth, growth sections right now. But it’s really, you know, that growth is, is, is being carried on the back of like a really fantastic team that we have there that is really dedicated to making sure that we’re fulfilling our mission statement, first and foremost, to be that best answer for real estate questions.
D.J. Paris 10:46
Wonderful. Well, let’s dive in. So Chris had sent me a whole bunch of articles, and I was reading through them, and they’re wonderful. But, you know, what do you feel that our listeners would benefit from a conversation about today?
Chris Linsell 11:01
Well, so we do a lot of talking on the clothes I do specifically with people about marketing marketing is is something that’s a topic that comes up all the time in a real estate agents business. And it totally makes sense to because there is no requirement for real estate agents to have any kind of background in marketing, to be an agent. And yet it is a cornerstone of success in our business. And so agents at every level of success in their business, will have questions, inevitably, they should have questions about how to best market themselves market their properties, and how to create a public face to their business that is going to benefit their existing business and grow their future business. And so, you know, that’s something that we focus a lot on, on the close that I work in a lot of that space. And I think that there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement. For every agent in that space. I’d love to chat about that. If you’ve got some got some questions. I do.
D.J. Paris 12:10
So great. Thank you. That’s a perfect topic and exactly what our listeners are, are looking for and viewers now. So I was actually I wasn’t sure if I forget if this was one of your articles or another website. But I can’t remember where I found this. But I was just looking up branding. And I found that a statistic. And I again account, I think it might have been from National Association realtors, but I could be wrong, where it was something to the effect of in 2020, it’s estimated the top 20% of Realtors nationwide are going to spend upwards of about 60% of their marketing budget on branding. Yeah, and I’ll give you a really hyper specific example because I want to get your take on this. So I’m part of a Facebook group called the independent broker broker network. And there’s about 1300 brokerage owners who are involved there, and we all chat back and forth. And, you know, we’re non franchise firms. So we all talk about what’s working for us and what isn’t. And we had this big debate the other day, actually, yesterday. So I posted this because I just recently interviewed the number two top producing broker in Chicago. And at the time of this episode, I don’t think it’s going to be live yet. But his name is Matt, Larissa and Matt is there’s 46,000 brokers, he’s number two. And I noticed something which I had never noticed from anyone else I had interviewed. We always plug their websites, all these top producers and I noticed his website, and I almost didn’t notice it at first, he didn’t have an IDX feed where you could search for properties on his website, not only did he not have that he didn’t have any of his listings, and this guy’s got more listings than anybody. He’s literally the number two guy in Chicago and he has no listings. What he does on his website, it’s very, very sort of short on, or there’s not much content on there. But what is on there is a really clear description of what he offers, what his agents are like. He has a team and and I asked him on the show, Hey, Matt, how come you don’t number one, display your listings. And number two, have a search an MLS search built right into your site. And he laughed. And I think this will be in the episode. I can’t remember if it made it to air but he said nobody wants to search for properties on my website. He’s like they already have Redfin, they have Zillow, they have Trulia, they have realtor.com. They I don’t need to compete with that. And also he goes, it takes away from what I do, which is branding. In other words, it takes away from from me being able to talk about my brand. And I thought oh, that is just so brilliant. So I posted this on our Facebook group, this Facebook group I’m on and there was a huge heated discussion. Many people felt Nope, you have to have that mls search on there. Other people said, No, we don’t. I just wanted to get your thoughts on on what you thought about that specifically.
Chris Linsell 14:56
Yeah, so I will. First of all, I’ll say two things. The first thing is, I attend a lot of real estate conferences, because I like to be able to network face to face with people and hear from thought leaders in the industry on what’s going on. And not even two years ago, we were hearing on conference stages across the country that if you don’t have search built into your website, you might as well be setting up a lemonade stand on the corner. That’s how much reach you’re going to get. And I don’t think that I, you know, when I when I hear so when I hear things like that, just two years ago, I bought how important searches on every single website, I think at the time that that was well guided information, because this is something that consumers were expecting. But just in that period of time, in less than 24 months, the availability of search on the Internet has become so ubiquitous, that the inclusion of it on individual people’s websites has become less and less and less of a priority. So much so that the last conference I was in the Inman Connect conference, this past January in New York, I didn’t hear a single person mentioned search as something that they needed to have on their website. You know, the the long the short of it is Zillow captures over 36 million unique visitors a day to their website. And so is search providing some sort of value add for your your website visitors? If it’s not, it might be time to evaluate whether or not that’s something that actually belongs on your site. My personal take on it is I want my the visitors to my website, to be able to do everything that they want to do within the real estate space. And the inclusion of IDX really doesn’t cost me very much. It’s not dollar for dollar very expensive service. And if it helps me capture just half a dozen more leads a year, and just one of those leads converts into a transaction, then it was well worth it. But I am not going to make or break my website on search anymore. I’ll have it because I think it’s good to be able to provide customers with every with a tool to do everything that they want to do. But I’m not standing. I’m not I’m not standing on the rooftop shouting it as like I used to put it that way.
D.J. Paris 17:36
Yeah, it’s it’s a good it’s a good point. And it certainly doesn’t hurt. The challenge we’re finding with IDX is making sure that the search plug in that you’re using in your website is actually a good search engine. It’s got a good user interface. It actually works about as well as somebody’s experience with you know, Zillow, Trulia, etc. If it doesn’t, if it’s not accurate, for example, in Chicago here are local, the MLS everyone uses isn’t super friendly with IDX. And there are challenges with nationwide IDX services that we can plug into websites, it doesn’t actually search that effectively. And so in some ways, you know, when you run searches, things don’t come up that ought to. And so we’re now sort of scrambling to try to figure out how to solve that we really can’t, because we don’t control the IDX feed. So I’d say you know, great point. And if it actually works, well, obviously keep it on the site, it certainly isn’t hurting anything, what I would say is challenged the idea, you know, if you’re building out a website, the vast majority of providers that will build out these templated sites for you, whether it’s a WordPress template that you’re paying for, or a service, like we use Boston logic for our brokers. One thing that I would sort of recommend is you don’t have to make it the very first thing people see when they hit your site. Yeah, yes, maybe you could tell the story of your brokerage through a video right there or just through some text or and you can have the you can actually have the the real estate search, maybe further down the page. If it’s not, you know, if you already have one, and you’re not getting a lot of leads from it, consider moving the positioning of it. Because I think, you know, you have a few seconds to make an impression. And 95% of real estate websites have that search right above the fold, which means right there at eye level. And there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s working for you great, but that’s valuable website space, real estate, I guess that website real estate, and you can actually maybe tell your story there instead and move it further down.
Chris Linsell 19:43
Yeah, I completely agree with you. And I think it’s important for us, especially from a marketing perspective, to remember what the intent is of the people who are visiting your site. Because if somebody is is visiting your site, whether they typed in your URL directly on their keyboard or they have found you in some sort of search, chances are their intent is not to come to your site and say, Oh, I’d like to visit crystal and sells real estate website, in order to search for a property in my community, they can do that just about anywhere. They’re coming to my website, because they want to learn more about who I am. And what I do, and why I am somebody who they should consider as a part of their real estate conversation. And if they can do search, they’re great. That is an ADD, that’s a feather in that cap. But if you think about the user’s intent, you know, this is something I tell to real estate agents all the time is to think about it from a marketing perspective, try to consider what a what a prospect or a lead or a client or just a random person who may be consuming your content, what their intent is. Because if your systems are not designed around satisfying that intent, you’re going to be missing folks, people are going to be going elsewhere, because you’re not delivering what they need.
D.J. Paris 21:07
Yeah, I’m on a board for a consumer experience, organised organization that trains mostly middle management, how to what’s called CX, is consumer experience, and customer experiences is another way to say it. And it is the number one sort of most interesting and talked about topic for businesses right now is how do you satisfy the customer experience, and you don’t necessarily need a ton of data to just think about it from your clients perspective is, hey, if I was a client, and I was looking at Chris’s website, what do I want to know about Chris so that I can decide that he’s the guy and searching for real estate is, of course, something that that if it’s helpful, you know, to be there, but I want to know about Chris, and I want to know why he’s the guy should choose, or, you know, you know, fill in the blank of, but think about what your consumer really needs to make that to make that buying decision. I’m a real estate recruiter. So when I I’m not, I have no real estate background. And my background was in information technology. And we built all of our systems around what the customer was looking for. And then when I got into working here in real estate, and I started recruiting, I looked at all the recruiting websites, and they were all very homogenous. They were very vague. There wasn’t much talk of fees, commissions. And I thought, oh, boy, if I was an agent, or realtor out there, and I wanted to know what the fees and commissions were, and of course, different firms have different structures. But I thought, boy, there, none of the firms even talk about that. And I thought as a as a customer, I would sort of want to know, at least generally speaking, what I’m looking at. So we built our website, our recruiting website, exclusively to focus on people who are looking to maybe join a brokerage. So that’s another suggestion I have for anyone who owns a brokerage that I would recommend even having if you’re looking to recruit other agents, to your firm, have a unique website that is specifically designed around recruiting and communicating your value proposition. What is it that you offer? Why do agents join you? Why should people consider you make that super clear and obvious, and you might need that in a separate website versus your company website, which maybe just talks more to consumers, because, you know, we have a recruiting website, and we would say, That’s business to business, b2b. Now, that’s a different person who visits our website than a consumer who might want to search for properties or look for an agent, two totally different customers. And so we built two totally different experiences, and promote them in completely different ways. We don’t want consumers visiting our recruiting website, and we don’t want realtors who might want to join our firm visiting our consumer website are two totally different things. And so really, again, we thought about it, and we continue to evolve it based on you know, what are people what are brokers looking for? We call them brokers and Illinois. Realtors, like of course, and then what are consumers looking for it and creating unique experiences for both?
Chris Linsell 24:11
Yeah, you know, I’ll add to that point, just a little bit of little bit of extra here. One of our most popular articles in 2019. On the close was an article called What’s the best real estate company to work for, and really targeted at agents who are, you know, thinking about either entering the market or getting ready to make a change, or considering a change? And I can’t tell you how many comments, emails, direct messages I get from folks who say, Who reinforced the message that you’re sending in that the best companies that that are out there are ones that take that that commitment to reaching their audience from a from a recruiting perspective. They make that commitment to providing them the best information seriously. So you have like an agent facing website or informational portal that is transparent, that provides great information about training, and fees and splits and commissions and desk fees, and, and all of that stuff. Even Even if you are not necessarily the most competitive in every one of those categories, the companies who are the most transparent about those tend to be ranked the highest.
D.J. Paris 25:28
Yeah, I fully agree. So that’s our tip. One is whoever your audience is for your web properties is make sure that it’s it’s meeting the needs of that consumer. Now, if you don’t know what, what the visitors are looking for reach out to, you know, if you’re trying to recruit, reach out to your brokers and say, Hey, what would have been helpful for you, if you would have visited our website before calling us to learn? What would have helped make your decision easier? Or if it’s a website designed to help buyers and sellers reach you reach out to your buyers and sellers and say, what we what would you like to have learned about our company right from our website? So great, great advice, Chris. Thank you. Now, you mentioned that you attend a lot of conferences, which is awesome. I was at the Inman, you know, independent conference two years ago in New York, but I didn’t I didn’t get to make it this year. So you mentioned no people, for individual book or websites aren’t maybe talking about search. But what trends Were you hearing? It doesn’t have to be related to websites, but just marketing trends in general, what would it what is what are people talking about?
Chris Linsell 26:37
Well, let me let me start by just asking you a question. And I’ll preface this by saying DJ and I have not talked about this. So if he doesn’t have if we don’t connect on this, that’s my fault for springing this on him. But DJ, how, what would you guess would be the number of the change in the number of internet leads that have have come into the space compared to this time, like seven years ago? How many? How many leads do you think, come across real estate agents desks now compared to just six or seven years ago? And yeah, yes.
D.J. Paris 27:16
Yeah. So it’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to this. But what I will tell you is I just recently read an article I might have been might have been from your website that was saying that since about 2012, or 2013, that the quality of the lead? So as far as quantity, I don’t know, but the quality has diminished. Yeah. And I’m curious to get your thoughts about quantity, I would say had has to have increased, that would be I guess, but but I was reading that the quality is diminished. And I was, I don’t know that that’s true. But I definitely want to get your opinion on that.
Chris Linsell 27:47
No, it’s definitely true, you can hit it right on the head. And we’ve got a good synergy going I like that the number of leads between the if you look at the number of internet leads generated in 2012, compared to the number of internet leads that were generated in 2019, that number has increased by a factor of five, five times as many leads are coming in which on its face sounds really great. Like from a lead generation perspective, this is awesome. We’re, we’re really dialing in our lead generation strategies, we’re producing five times as many leads now. But if you look at the number of real estate transactions that have closed in 2019, compared to 2012, that number has only moved up very significantly, in less than 10%. So what that’s telling us is, the number of leads that we’re producing is skyrocketing. But our conversion rate of those leads is plummeting. We’re the word closing only a few more transactions, we’re getting a ton of leads. So that means the overall quality of leads is going down. We’re getting lots of contacts, but the vast majority of those contacts aren’t converting into training.
D.J. Paris 29:05
Yeah, I want to if you don’t mind, I want to interject for the
Chris Linsell 29:07
quick this. I’m sorry. Yeah, please.
D.J. Paris 29:11
So I was I won’t mention the name of the lead company, as to not, you know, it’s not wouldn’t be appropriate. But I was speaking to a one of the biggest lead providers in the industry, and they, which they’re very good company, and I won’t mention who it is, but they were saying they’ve even stopped asking. So we’re talking about quality. They’ve even stopped asking the consumer, which they used to ask, are you currently working with a realtor? They have removed that question. Now, this is a company that will actually try to qualify the lead before passing it off to the realtor. They have removed that question and I asked them why. And they said, we don’t really want to get in the way. We want to do everything we can and I think is to increase the quantity. You know, it’s better to not ask that question because, you know, they they just spent a bunch of money to generate that lead. They don’t want to throw the lead away. But I imagine that has to hurt quality.
Chris Linsell 30:04
Yeah, I know, you’re 100%, right, like there, we have worked really hard as on the technology side of the real estate industry to improve our lead generation strategies so that our volume is going up. But the overall quality of leads is going down, at least from the first kind of look at the metrics. But I will I want to, I want to add a part two to this, because it seems like that is kind of a sad or negative story to tell. But I want to, I want to just tell you why I don’t actually believe that this is the end of the story. And that the story has a has an unhappy ending, I think that the this is just the second the end of the first chapter. Because what the second chapter starts with is, now we as real estate professionals have to rethink a little bit what our lead nurturing, and conversion rate strategies are. So we’re realizing that if we’re getting five times as many leads, but we’re only converting, you know, a marginal number more than we were before, those people still raise their hand and said, hey, I’m interested in home buying and selling, I’m interested in becoming a part of this marketplace. And those are people who will eventually more likely than not convert, we just don’t have them in our field of vision is a little too narrow right now to understand the process necessary to convert that lead into a client and eventually a transaction. And so Chapter Two starts with us thinking, Okay, well, I’ve got all these leads, and they’re not converting like they, I expect they should be. So what can I do to nurture these leads long term and short term, but long term for the most part, so that my lead funnel 36 months from now, or 24 months from now, is going to be full of these people that I’m picking up right now. And so that’s really the question that chapter two of this of this lead generation story kind of starts with is how do we adjust those strategies to account for these kind of new metrics that we’ve got?
D.J. Paris 32:30
Yeah. Do you? Do you have any ideas of what brokers who are been six who are successful with some of these longer lead time approaches to conversion with internet leads? What they’re doing to nurture along the way?
Chris Linsell 32:44
Yeah. So a couple of questions a great, that’s a that’s I appreciate you asking a couple of questions. The first one first strategy that really successful agents and brokers are using is they are going back to the roots of real estate marketing, remembering that real estate is a hyper local business. And so you are more likely to convert the people who live on your black into clients than you are to convert the people who live in the next town into clients. And that’s because you can demonstrate a personal connection with the people who live on your block, you know, the issues and the, the benefits of your community. And you can demonstrate your expertise as to why that person should trust you in real estate. And so successful agents are remembering this strategy and thinking about it in terms of this longer lead tail. And they’re saying, Okay, I need to double down my real estate farming operations. Because I if I can establish myself as the local experts in a community, that person who reached out to me who may not be ready to buy or sell yet, if they continue to get reinforcement every single month that I’m the expert. Whatever neighborhood or set of 10 blocks or whatever your farm area is, if you can establish a regular form of communication that is going to reinforce that expertise, you’re going to convert more of those leads down the line. The second thing I will say too, is that regular communication, which is oftentimes built, for some reason, the bane of real estate agents, professional existence is more important than ever. If you don’t have your clients on some sort of, or your long term nurturing leads on some sort of regular communication plan that will either automate communicate to the automate their communication, or set a really good center reminder so that you can do it firsthand. You’re missing out because you know, there are are a lot of real estate agents in the United States over 2 million now. And chances are people know more than one real estate agent. And if you are not remaining top of mind someone else is. And so that long term nurturing plan, you got to think of it like this is not your this, you are not the only real estate agent who is nurturing this lead, it’s going to be who’s going to nurture that person best that’s gonna eventually convert that business.
D.J. Paris 35:26
Yeah, and I also want to point out, thank you for that. That’s great, great information. And I want to point out to to the listeners that it doesn’t have to be a monthly real estate newsletter. That’s right, especially if that’s something that your firm offers to all of the agents. Because there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s certainly better than sending nothing. But if you could create content on a regular basis, whether it’s via email, a bit, whether it’s social media, like Instagram, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, if it’s or just blog posts on your website, or something that is related to providing value to those customers, or, or communicating why people choose you, or what you offer, you can consistently provide that sort of information on a regular basis, or even just a reminder, maybe it’s a postcard with a funny saying on it, if that’s part of your brand. Or I’ll tell you, I live in a high rise here in Chicago, and once a month, one of the people who has actually been on our show, just coincidentally, I get a postcard from him. He’s a Berkshire Hathaway broker every month, and it says, here’s all the listings in your building that sold in the last month, here’s all the ones that are currently for sale. And it’s a postcard, and I went, that is brilliant, because that is incredible value. Now, I don’t know how many buildings he does that for, but he does it for our building. And I went, that is brilliant. I look at it because it’s a value to me, I want to say how much is my place worth? Or approximately? Or what’s for sale? What’s what’s available, and what’s closed. And I went God, what a smart idea. So that’s that could be now that takes a little bit more work, of course than just sending out an email newsletter. But I’ll always remember him and I get almost postcards every almost every other day from other realtors who just do it, you know? And that one really stuck out to me, because it’s a it’s a incredible value to me as somebody who has a place in that building?
Chris Linsell 37:19
Absolutely. Yeah. And you really hit on it, there’s is one of the key components that that I tell real estate agents, literally every day, it feels like is if your marketing messages, whether they are nurturing of leads, or whether they are cold outreach, or whether it’s social media or literally anything, if your messages are not providing value to the people who are consuming them, then it will be those messages will be glazed over and forgotten within seconds. I mean, honestly, it is it is seconds. And I can tell you from personal experience. You know I the closes is a very popular website, we have a lot of data and analytics of people who are coming and reading, I can tell you I have worked on articles that are like 3000 words long took me all week to put together. And I realized after the article gets published, that the headline, just the headline itself, or in the first couple of sentences don’t provide the value that my readers deserve. I can go back and look at the analytics of the views on that website. And the the read time on this article that should take somebody 10 minutes to read, the average time on that article is like 15 seconds, right? And that’s just a pure illustration of what it means like our clients, our prospects, not only will they will they go somewhere else if you are not providing value to them, but they deserve value from us. I mean, we have taken if you’re a member of the National Association of Realtors, and you have accepted the code of ethics, our first responsibility is to interest our clients into provide to our community at large. And so you have an opportunity to provide value to your community with every single message you send. And that is an opportunity, I make sure that I tell agents to take advantage of every single day.
D.J. Paris 39:26
And the hyperlocal piece of it is shouldn’t be couldn’t be overstated, right? Because you’re serving a hype, most likely you’re serving a hyperlocal client base or a possible customer base. And if you can create hyper local content. I mean, I have been saying this since the beginning of this podcast, if you’re worried about well what kind of content do I create? I have this really silly example. I don’t know if anyone’s done it. So I’ll just give it to everyone as an example and I don’t even know if it’s a good idea, but it seems like it might be you know with Instagram we have 62nd videos you can do. And if you think, okay, I live in a hyperlocal area, and maybe a lot of the people who are my Instagram friends or people that follow me on Facebook or Twitter, maybe they’re not in the market to buy or sell. And so maybe they’re not that interested in real estate news today, because it’s just not, you know, on their immediate horizon. Well, what does everybody want to do? plan their weekend and do something fun, right? So here in Chicago, of course, there’s a million fun things to do. And it’s almost overwhelming every weekend, my girlfriend and I sit around and go, What are we doing this weekend? And, you know, we have to really plan it and think about it, I thought, I wish somebody would just make a little YouTube video, or Instagram video once, once a week, it could be 60 seconds. And we live in an area called River North. And they could say, here are three cool things going on within about a mile of you this weekend. Right now, that has nothing to do with real estate. But how valuable would it be for me as a just a visitor of social media? Oh, my God, I would love if somebody were to do that. Now there are lots of websites where I can go and find out what’s going on. But I love the idea of providing content. So if you’re like, Well, I don’t have a lot of my clients are not in the market. Think about that, you know, think about providing value. I interviewed a woman once for our show who literally got the vast majority of her clients, she’s lives in the suburbs of Chicago, she created a Facebook group for for mothers who needed to know what are all the things going on related to kids events, playdates, you know, just different school stuff. And she over a couple of years got like 5000 mothers to join, she never ever mentioned, she was even a realtor, she just thought this would be really valuable to mothers in this particular suburb, and she now gets all of her business from it and had nothing to do with real estate.
Chris Linsell 41:42
Big time, big time. Absolutely. You know, there’s, there’s this a regular refrain that I hear with folks about wanting to be the real estate expert of their entire city. And I tell folks, we start with being the real estate expert of the building you live in, or of your of your block, because ultimately, if it takes you 20 transactions in a year, in order to meet your financial goals, it doesn’t matter whether or not those 20 transactions happen in the same building, or all spread across the city, the benefit is if they happen all in the same in the same building, you have, you’ve established yourself as the go to resource for that particular area, not just from a real estate perspective, but like you said, you know, everything that there is to know about that building, you know, the best restaurants within walking distance, you know, the dry cleaners nearby, you know, the the the peak times for the tourist season, in you know, on your street, and when you should avoid parking XY and Z places like that is that is expertise and value that you can’t provide, if you’re going to try and spread your resources across a vast region. And so I love telling folks to hyper local focus your your marketing expertise, you know, build up yourself in one place. And once you’ve saturated that spot and sold every apartment in that building, or every home in that neighborhood, move right next door, because you know, just about everything there. And then you can do the whole process again.
D.J. Paris 43:17
Wow, what a great, great suggestion. And what Chris just said is echoed by a lot of the top producers, we feature on the show this is not just Christian DJ pod, you know pontificating on what we think works, I know that this works, because it is almost the refrain of every interview we’ve ever done is become an expert in your local area and focus 100% on that. And you have to know more than the other realtors that are trying to compete in that space, you have to spend more time you have to know the buildings, you have to know all of the ancillary stuff that clients ask and you can start providing content around that, for example, this is a silly one. But I was in where I live. I never know what the parking situation is like because I we have parking in our building. But if someone comes to visit me, I’m like, I think there’s I never pay for parking outside because I have a parking spot. But I don’t actually know how that works. And I’ve lived there for two and a half years. And so as silly as it sounds, that would be great information for everyone in our building. If somebody were to, you know, send us a mailer and say, hey, just in case you have visitors, here’s what you need to know about the parking nearby. And here’s the parking garages. Here’s what they charge. Here’s how to park on the street. Here are the times. I mean, it sounds silly, but I don’t know it and I live right there. And that way if somebody were to provide, I mean, you just have to think about what do people want to know about and it doesn’t necessarily have to be real estate related, but it could be real estate adjacent, or it could be totally separate from real estate but providing that valuable content will really win the game over time. You can’t do it once you have to do it consistently, ideally once a month or once a quarter whatever is appropriate but can Tip me to provide that is going to ultimately go people are gonna go wow, that was really helpful. Yeah. And
Chris Linsell 45:05
you know, I’ll add to that I heard somebody at the last name and conference make mentioned that the average lifespan for a successful marketing effort in real estate is 18 months. And so if you expect that you’re going to win the hearts and minds of an entire building in Chicago, and in you know, 60 days worth of marketing, you’re going to be disappointed in that. But top producers understand that this is the success comes in a long tail here, it doesn’t happen overnight. And it comes as a result of a sustained effort of excellence, it doesn’t happen with quick little hits. And so whether you are, it doesn’t matter if you’re working in a major metro area, like Chicago, or New York, or Miami, or if you’re in a rural spot that has, you know, all single family homes, spread out across subdivisions and across countryside. Success is a result of sustained excellence, it is not a result of these of these intense, kind of swoop in and hit it campaigns, those sorts of things, those sorts of intense moments like, like event sponsorship, or like providing some sort of some sort of forum for community members, that sort of thing. Those are valuable pieces. And I don’t want to downplay that, in fact, those can be a real feather in the cap of somebody who has created this, this, like demonstration of excellence for their community. But those are the sorts of things that that I tell folks, the big events, those are the those are the things that you buy your boat with the sustained postcards and letters, those are the things you pay the mortgage with.
D.J. Paris 46:55
Yeah, just try to hit singles and doubles to borrow a metaphor from a baseball, hit, try to hit singles and doubles all day, don’t. You don’t need to always swing for the fences, if you can always swing for the fence if you want to. But realize that the singles and doubles are the way to really win the hearts and minds. And it is a marathon as Chris said, it’s an 18 month incubation, and you better have a pretty good thing that you’re sending out pretty good. I didn’t say great, pretty good item of value. Brian Buffini calls it items of value, to borrow to borrow one of his probably trademark phrases. But but that his whole thing is provide item of value every single month. And guess what it works because people need valuable content, which is why the clothes.com exists, right? It’s valuable content on a regular basis. And this is why they are you know, now competing with the admins of the world from a news perspective, because they’re able to realize their you know, this kind of content is so incredible ly valuable. So let’s plug it once more. And I think it’s a great place for us to complete our first episode, because we could talk all day about this. And I know Chris has bigger and better things to do. But this is this was really great. But everyone should visit the clothes.com. It’s you know, th e clo s e.com. Subscribe to their newsletter so that you don’t have to even worry about necessarily always visiting their website to check it every day, they’re going to email you every time there’s a story but do visit their website, add it to your reader. If you have like Feedly or some sort of RSS reader or Apple news, add it there so that you get instantly notified. And guys, their content is unbelievable. It’s really that good. And it’s this is such a perfect partnership with our podcast because this is exactly the kind of content that our leaders or our listeners are asking for. And this was the number one thing that we were not really providing was having an industry expert on the show. And so Chris, on behalf of the listeners and viewers, I want to thank you for number one, finding the time to do this. Number two agreeing to help us and hopefully, we can of course help your site as well. Anything else you’d like us to plug for the close
Chris Linsell 49:14
there’s a talk about but I guess I just want to say one thing, which is the close is a free website, we do not charge a membership fee. We don’t have we don’t have requirements in order to even come on and read the articles. You can provide us with your contact information if you think what we’re providing for you is valuable and we’ll keep you in the loop as to what else we’re doing. But the close is available for any real estate agent who wants to better their business. So come one come all we’re in the business of making your business better. So I think that’s the you know, there’s tons of things to talk about, but I feel like that is the that’s the appropriate place to leave it and I also want to say thank you, to you guys for having me on. I really appreciate the opportunity To chat, there’s too much to talk about in real estate right now, our industry is changing so quickly, I’m not kidding you like I am, my hair gets blown back when I think about how fast the industry is moving. And so if you’re a smart real estate agent, you’re gonna keep listening to podcasts like this one is going to read of the clothes, and you’re going to stay up to date not just on the state of the industry, but on the tools that are going to be available to help better your business.
D.J. Paris 50:27
Well, I couldn’t, couldn’t say it better myself. And I won’t try because Chris Chris did it perfectly. So on behalf of the listeners, Chris, thank you again for your time. On behalf of Chris and myself, we want to thank the readers of the clothes who are now being exposed to our podcast. And of course, our listeners, I demand that everyone go visit the clothes.com read an article, you will be hooked because it is actually that good. And you don’t have to search through the website to find valuable content. They don’t publish four or five times a day where you have to sift through they publish, you know, every other day, or every two or three days or four days, because they really want to just write articles of high high quality, they’re not clickbait. These are really high quality articles written by journalists, people that know how to how to meet the needs of the agents who visit the site. So Chris, and I practice the same exact thing with the podcast with the clothes.com. We’re trying to meet your needs as well. And on top of that, what would it What would you guys like us to talk about? So let us know either email Chris, you can do that through his website, or send a message to us through our website, let us know or through our Facebook page, how you what you’d like topics you’d like us to discuss in future episodes. Chris is going to be on once a month and we’re super grateful for the partnership. So Chris, thanks and we will see you next month.
Chris Linsell 51:47
And it was a pleasure to talk to you soon.