Welcome to the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast. My name is Mark Ferguson and I am your host. I am a house flipper, I flip 10 to 15 houses a year, I own 13 rental properties with a goal to buy 100 by 2023. I’m also a real estate agent. I’ve been licensed since ’01, I run a team of nine, we sell close to 200 houses a year. So on this show, we like to interview house flippers, land lords and the best real estate agents in the business.
So stay tuned for some great shows. If you want more information on my rentals, on the numbers, how I buy properties, check out investfourmore.com
[WORKING WITH INVESTORS]
Hey everyone, it's Mark Ferguson with InvestFourMore. Welcome to another edition of the InvestFourMore real estate podcast. I've got an awesome guest today! Really excited to talk to Kyle Hiscock. He is a real estate agent in Rochester, New York. I know a lot of our guests are investors, but a lot of his site is geared towards real estate agents as well. And Kyle can give us some insights on his market, how he became a successful real easts agent, and he also works with his father, which as many of you know, I do as well — or I did until he retired.
Kyle, great to have you on the show. How are you doing?
I'm doing great Mark! Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Oh yeah, no problem. So I know the first thing I wanna start off with, you run an awesome blog, RochesterRealEstateBlog.com. And I just wanna give people a shout-out, if they're interested in real estate in the area, awesome site. Even if you're not in the area, great site for education on real estate. You do a great job of that blog.
Thank you, appreciate it!
How did you first get started in real estate? How did you make that jump into kind of being an entrepreneur, your own self-employed boss so to speak?
Well I mean, the primary reason I really wanted to get into real estate was the opportunity really to be my own boss was the number one thing. Obviously I worked with my father, so sometimes there's a difference of opinion of who's the boss. It's really about having that flexible schedule, being able to work as hard — basically as hard as you work is what kind of reward and income you're going to make. The unlimited income potential in the business is something you can't get in an 8 to 5 job behind a desk for a company or a corporation. It's just not feasible.
So really that was number one reason why I got into the business. Obviously, growing up my father's been in the business for about 28 years. So being around it, it's funny, I actually always said to myself growing up as a kid he was out late at night at appointments or showing houses to clients, whatever it was, he wasn't around or at home for dinner some nights. And I always said to myself I absolutely don't wanna do that. It's just something I don't wanna do.
But then after working for about five or six years for a couple companies locally here in Rochester doing sales, I just realized that it was something I wanted to do. That it's nice not having to punch a clock and be there, be in the office at 8 o'clock. If I wanna go in at 9 but have to work till 7, it's a give and take type of thing. So really that's the main reason why I wanted to get into real estate, just the ability to have a flexible schedule, but also really the unlimited income potential. As hard as I work is what I'm going to make. If I work hard I'll make a good living. If I don't, I'm not going to make a good living.
So that was really the driving factor behind getting into the business.
Nice. Yeah I said the exact same thing when I was growing up. Because my dad had been an agent since '78, and the same thing. I remember sleeping under his desk in the office cause he was working late. And I always said, even after college, "I'm never gonna get into real estate. I don't wanna do it." And then I couldn't find a great job after college, so I'm like, "Oh, I'll just do it part time until I find a real job." Well that turned into 15 years later. [Laughs] I'm glad that happened, but yeah I know exactly what you mean, being around something your whole like that kind of almost pushes you away in certain cases. Very cool.
So you were in sales, you went into real estate; did you see that transition? Like I think a lot of people think you have to be a salesman to sell houses, but I'm not sure if that's the case. Did you find that being a salesman helped you sell houses? Or was it completely different than trying to sell other things?
The sales position I was in prior to getting in real estate was what I would call "high pressure sales" type of sale where you're calling somebody the first time and you're expecting them to make a several thousand dollar purchase of your product the first call, first time out. And really, honestly that's not the type of sale I wanted to be involved in. I don't like personally being pressured into something when I go shop for a car, or a TV, or whatever it may be. I don't like being pressured into making a purchase on the spot. I like to do my own research and my own due diligence before making a purchase, especially a significant purchase.
And that's one thing I see a huge difference between what I came from and real estate. Real estate's not, it's really not a sales position in my opinion. You're more of a, I guess for a lack of better words, an advisor. You're there as a counsellor, you're helping people, you're explaining the process, you're giving your advice and input as far as pricing and things you may see as you walk through a home. You might want to point out to a buyer, make sure that they see certain possible defects with a home. And it's just really about educating in real estate more than selling somebody a home.
I mean, that's where I think a lot of agents will get themselves in trouble is they try to push people into making a decision. They try to say, "Oh you have to buy this house now. It's the perfect house!" It's really and ultimately, as a real estate agent, it's not your decision what type of home they buy or what home they buy. It's ultimately the buyer's or whoever you're working with, it's their decision to purchase the home or not. So completely different sales, which is really why I love what I do now versus what I tolerated what I did beforehand where I liked what I did, I can't say I loved it.
No I totally agree. I think people think you have to be a salesman to sell a house, but you don't. You just have to be educated, knowledgeable, and really it's about helping people make a decision, it's not about selling them anything. So yeah, I completely agree. You don't have to be — I mean, I'm not a salesman at all, and it's not about having to push people into buying houses. Great advice.
So you and your dad did over 100 deals last year. How much time do you think you work doing that many deals in a year? Are you working non-stop? I mean I know you have a flexible schedule as an agent, but what's your work life look like?
I definitely don't work non-stop, I'll start off by saying that. [Laughs] On a weekly basis, between — I spend probably, to give you an idea, I spend probably about 20 to 25 hours doing social media, blogging, SEO, things like that to help out my website rank higher and obviously perform well in the search engine. And then I'd say probably another 25 hours, 20 to 25 hours showing houses, meeting with clients, doing CMA's or comparative market analysis of properties, prospecting, keeping in touch with past clients.
So it's probably anywhere between — my work week is anywhere between 40 and 60 hours. The schedule is always different, which is again a perk to being your own boss, but sometimes it's not. I might leave the house at 10 AM and you might not walk back in the door till 8:30 or 9 o'clock just to relax and do it all again the next day. So my one piece of advice I have for anybody thinking about getting into real estate is it's not a typical bankers hours schedule, and it's just not.
If you think you're gonna work Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5, I don't think real estate's gonna be the right fit for you. It's really never a predictable schedule. So some weeks you might be working Saturday and Sunday, and other weeks you might not have to work Saturday and Sunday. So it really depends.
No, I think you're totally on point with that. And that brings me up to something else, is I have a lot of people that say, "Hey I wanna get started in real estate part time, but I've got a full time job, 9 to 5 job. Do you think it's possible?" And I always kind of think, "Man, that is really hard to take care of your clients if you can't talk to anybody, you can't show houses from 9 to 5 during the week." And what are your thoughts on that?
Well I can give some actual insight into that. I got my real estate license in February 2011 and I was part time for two years while I was still working another position here in Rochester, and it's extremely difficult to be honest. If you're a part time agent and you can close half a dozen deals a year, you're doing pretty well. Probably working a lot of late nights, and evenings, and weekends.
I jumped into full time real estate in March 2013, I finally made the leap and decided that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But part time, it's just extremely difficult not being able to, like you mentioned, answer the phone, respond to your emails about that. It's honestly, in my opinion, it's a disservice to a buyer or a seller if you're a part time agent because you're not readily available to answer their calls or to set up showings on a listing. It's just very tough to be able to do it when you're working 40 hours at another position.
Yeah, I agree. I imagine having your father help you too was a plus for working part time. Did he help out when you couldn't talk to clients or show them houses?
Yeah absolutely. I mean it was huge having him around, obviously. If I needed something to be shown or a contract to be processed or sent to an attorney, he was available and was able and willing to help me obviously, with that. So yeah that was, you know, my situation was probably a little different than somebody else who may be getting into the business with not a lot of connections or I guess you can say "a mentor" to work with. Having that was huge, and again finally after a couple of years of doing it part time I decided I wasn't able to get out of it what I wanted to get out of it.
Very cool. I'm curious, I know what it's been like working with my father and there's pro's, there's con's, some things I liked, some things I didn't like. Eventually got to a point where I ended up buying him out and taking over the business. And maybe I'm a control freak, but I love having control of everything and making decisions. What are some of the pro's and con's you've had of working with your father and learning the business from him?
Well let's start with the con's. There's very few cons, to be honest with you. We get along pretty well. Most people, they're surprised. My dad, over the 28 years he's been in the business, really has never had anyone working with him until I got into the business and I started working with him. Actually, funny story, my mother worked with him for about two weeks and decided after two weeks that that was gonna be the end of that!
So, you know as far as some of the con's it's just, you know, we have a different style in certain things as far as our approaches to things of how we delegate things and things along that line as far as what we wanna do ourselves and what we would delegate out to some support staff. But that's really it. As far as the pro's, I mean there's so many to list it would take me probably an entire hour just to list them all.
But the pro's, obviously the first one is always having somebody to ask a question about a certain scenario that, inevitable, he's probably experienced over the last 28 years he's been in the business. You know, obviously having him when I was just getting into the business was huge just for his advice and input and teaching and how he does certain things, and the structure, how he writes a contract. All those things are, you know, you could read a book and take the class for real estate, but until you really get into the field you don't — I always say you really don't know real estate until you get out and experience it.
And then obviously some of the older style marketing tactics that he might use as far as direct mailing and post-carding and obviously the importance of staying in touch withe the client base and getting referrals, those are all things that I would say is more of an older school tactic of real estate marketing. And I bring in, obviously the newer style as far as the SEO and the social media and the importance of the Internet in real estate nowadays. Which inevitably it's the way it's obviously going at this point.
Right. No that's great, that's awesome. I'm curious, a lot of people are probably thinking, "Hey you have a huge advantage because your father helped you into the business as a mentor." But other people have that opportunity too, maybe not with their father, but with selecting a broker or an office that offers training. And I'm just curious, how important do you think it is that people select a brokerage that offers that training, that mentorship to help them get started?
It's huge! Real estate's not the type of business that you really should go at without having some sort of, at least training advisor to be around to answer your questions cause it can feel like a very lonely profession if you do. I mean there's tough situations that you get yourself into or you might be involved in, and you need to have somebody to be able to call and ask a question. Whether it's 8:30 at night you're writing an offer up and you're not sure how to do something, you have to have somebody you could pick up the phone and at least call or text and say, "Hey listen, how do I handle this situation? Or how do I write this in the contract?"
And if you don't, again it goes back to not being able to service the client properly. If you have to wait till the next day at noon to be able to catch somebody while you're in the office, that house could very well be sold by that point. At that point, you know, you've just lost a home for your client and that's never good. It could lead to, obviously losing the client. So it's really important to always have somebody within at least a phone call away, or reach I guess you'd say, to be able to ask them a question or get their advice on a certain situation.
Yeah, for sure. I always tell people, you know they think taking the real estate classes and getting their license will teach them how to sell houses. But those don't teach you how to sell houses, they teach you how to stay within the laws and not get yourself in trouble. And you really, you have to have that mentorship, that training to learn how to actually sell houses, especially in your market cause every market's different and there's so many techniques. Like you said, from you using social media and technology, to referrals, and database, and direct mail, there's so many different ways to do it. Very cool.
So speaking of social media, now you have your blog, how has that helped your real estate business? Has that given you more clients? More referrals? How has that worked?
It's honestly been a game changer for me in the last — I've only been blogging really actively for a couple years. My blog started back in December of 2013, and probably for the first six months or so I was just kind of getting my feed wet, kind of figuring out what's working, what's not. And in the last year, year and half — really year and half — I've seen just a tremendous amount of traction being gained finally, starting to get leads, starting to get people subscribing quite a bit. And the traffic to the blog, and obviously it's all about turning those people eventually into customer, buyers and sellers, is what you home.
And again, ultimately it's one of those things where it's taken a year and half to really start to see results and to build leads off of it. But it's starting to happen at a pretty frequent rate at this point. So its, again, one of those things where it's not an overnight fix. It's not gonna have you close, it's not gonna help you close 12 houses in your first two months of doing it. That's just not gonna happen. And I think that's one of the things that people who are thinking about getting involved with social media or blogging is, it's not an overnight lead generation tool. It takes time. So if someone's not patient, it might not be the right fit as far as a marketing tool for their business.
Yeah no it makes total sense. But I imagine, what's the nice thing about it now is it's kind of like an on-going source of leads that you don't have to go out and directly market to or directly get those leads. You just keep the blog going, up date it, and those leads come to you kind of without having to do too much of the prospecting on your own.
Yeah, absolutely. And one of the beautiful things about writing a solid piece of content for my blog is, I may have written it a year ago or 12 months ago, 18 months ago, whatever it may be, and it's still providing results. It's still giving me leads, it's still showing up in the search engines. It's one of those things where again the blog, it really doesn't cost you anything other than maintenance fees of a website and things along those lines, in addition to obviously your time. So you put the time in initially, and down the road you hope it continues to pay back benefits in the form of, hopefully, leads.
So you know I can give you a great example of an article I wrote probably last year, beginning of last year 2014 just discussing some of the programs that are available to some first-time buyers in New York State and in the Rochester area. Which really, I get anywhere from, depending on the month, anywhere between 100 or 200 organic visitors locally in the Rochester area hitting that article. Searching for things like, "First time Rochester home buyer, NY", "First time home buyer programs, Rochester, NY". Because those are things people are searching.
Fortunately for me the article I put together comes up right at the top of the search results on any of the search engines. So again, it's something that's continually paying me back for time I put in 12 months, 18 months ago in the form of leads.
Very cool. How often do you think you post new articles? Is it once a week? Once every couple of weeks? How often are you writing?
Fairly similar to my real estate business, I'm a creature of habit. So every week on Tuesday I publish my main, I guess you would say, my featured article. So every Tuesday morning that will be published, and that's usually something — it could be a topic, you know, tips for buyers, tips for sellers, information on different mortgage programs, things like that. And I usually try to have anywhere between, that content usually I like to have anywhere between 1,500-2,500 words. I design some nice graphics as well, I promote it out pretty well on social media and I curate the content quite a bit all over the Internet.
And really, other than that, I usually have a couple times a week I do a couple local market reports, usually twice — two to three times a week I'll have market reports for the different communities within the Rochester area, talking about how many houses closed last month in comparison to the prior year, what the average sale price was the last month in comparison to the prior year, what the average days on the market was comparing year over year. And obviously just giving really information about the local communities in my area, how the real estate market's performing currently.
Oh that's great. Yeah I can second what you say. When I run my blog I get a lot of traffic from SEO and you have to be consistent with your writing, with your posting. You can't just post a couple articles and then assume Google's gonna pick them up and send you all this traffic. It takes time, they look at how often you write and how often you publish thing. So that's great that you have a schedule, and then people know what to expect too. They follow your blog, they can look forward to new articles and really look forward to new content. So great job with that.
Now I know you haven't invested in real estate yet yourself, but you're thinking about it. But you work with a lot of investors. So I'm curious, from people who are looking to invest, looking for a real estate agent, do you have any tips for investors on how to treat their agent? Realistic expectations for being an investor? From the real estate agent side and working with investors, what are your thoughts on that?
You know the main thing that I always will mention to an investor the first time I talk with them and the first time I meet with them is, "I'm gonna give you all my effort, time 100% of the time as far as being there if you need to get into a property, call me." But it's a two-way street and a lot of the times what investors fail to remember is that we earn our living as real estate agents by closing deals. And some investors, just for some reason or another, aren't loyal. They'll bounce around to 50 different agents, they'll call only the listing agent, I've had people tell me that. You know, if I was the listing agent on the property, "Oh, I'll work with you because I only work with the listing agent."
So the investors I do work with, which it's not a huge amount — probably 20 to 30% of my business comes from that — they're loyal investors. So if they see a property that pops up that they have interest in, they're gonna pick up the phone and call me. They're not gonna call the listing agent directly. So those are relationships that I've built with them. Hopefully it's one of those relationships where if they do see something that they have some interest in they'll call me and not just call a listing agent or call another agent to get in there.
Nice! Yeah, and I would completely agree with that. And then another thing that I think investors need to realize is, if you're bouncing around with 15 different agents, you're not gonna have 15 different agents sending you listings and good deals. You're probably gonna have zero agents sending you listings just because of what you said. You don't feel there's loyalty, they have not incentive to help you out.
But if you're working with one agent, they know you're loyal, they know you're gonna work with them if they find a house. There's a much better chance you're gonna send them listings, you're gonna go out of your way to really find good deals for their money. Is that how you feel too?
Yeah absolutely. I mean if you're an agent and you're walking into a home that you're gonna be potentially listing and you think to yourself as you walk through a home, one of the first things you do as a good agent, a good listing agent, try to associate the listing you're hopefully gonna secure with any potential buyers you may be currently working with or that you may have. So if you walk into a property that may be in need of a little bit of rehab, you're gonna think, "Oh, one of my investors, John, he's looking for something in this area in this price range. I'm gonna call him, see if I can get him in there as soon as it's listed or even a day prior before it's listed so he can take a peak and maybe get the house secured," you know?
So it's one of those things where if they're loyal, they get themselves almost an advantage as far as if you're gonna list a property that might be a good fit for him, you're gonna be — hopefully they're gonna be the first person you call.
Right. No that's exactly how I feel. So turning that around as a real estate agent who works with investors, do you have any advice for other agents who work with investors on how to figure out which investors might be loyal, which ones might be real buyers versus the real estate investors who are maybe just kicking tires or shopping around to a bunch of different agents?
Usually you can tell if someones' blowing smoke or not, as far as if they're gonna be a loyal investor or not. The primary thing I always tell people and other agents when they ask about investors is, you know, it's one of those things where I don't even have my buyers that I work with, sign brokerage agreements, buyer brokerage agreements. I work, and I guess you'd say my father instilled this in me a little bit, I work on a handshake with a potential buyer or investor. I don't make them sign a contract or anything along those lines.
I always say, "If you're happy with the service I'm providing you, I hope you'll call me. I hope if you see a property you're gonna give me a call, and I'm not gonna force you into an agreement and signing a contract because at the days end, if you're not happy with the service I'm providing, I don't want you to feel like you can't go elsewhere." And again, it's a two-way street there as well. If I'm not, if I don't feel that an investor or a buyer that I'm working with, we're clicking on the same — we're on the same click on all cylinders, I'll tell them, "You know maybe I think you might wanna look elsewhere for some other representation. I just don't think our styles fit or our way we look at how we do business or the way we're gonna do business, I don't think it's a good fit together."
So you know, that's where I always say to agents who are trying to work with investors, is just make sure that they understand that your time is valuable, just like their time is valuable.
Yeah, no great advice, and I feel the same way as well. Another question, I know you have a huge online presence, a huge social media presence, I know a lot of agents when they get started in the business they are inundated with online companies trying to sell them leads. You've got Zillow, Trulioo, Realtor.com, many other sources. Do you guys subscribe to any of those lead sources? What are your thoughts on those online leads you have to pay for?
No we don't. We don't buy leads from Zillow or Trulioo or any of those third party sites. The primary reason what we find with that is a lot of them are, for a lack of a better word, is tire kickers, looky-loos. They are just looking around, rarely are they loyal people. They're obviously looking for three, four, five different houses. You know honestly, those buy for lead services are — and they work for some. You'll hear stories and they'll tell you, you'll hear from some agent saying, "I'll close 50 deals last year from buying leads from this place or that place."
But ultimately the best type of lead obviously, is one you can develop through people finding you online, finding your blog, finding your website, reading something maybe you wrote, finding you on social media. So those are the types of people that you really want, the leads you wanna get are people that have been following you, that have done their research, realize and understand the quality of service that you're likely to provide them, whether it's they read testimonials or they go on to Google Plus and they see a place page with a bunch of different reviews from past clients, things like that.
Those are all the types of leads that are actually gonna, in most cases, are gonna turn into a solid lead and hopefully at the days end, a paycheck and money in your pocket. Versus having to chase down people and call three-four times just to see if the lead that you get from a pay for leads service is actually a live human being. [Laughs]
Right. No yeah, there's a lot of rumours out there that a lot of those leads they send out aren't even real leads that they're — who knows where they're coming from. But I know what you're saying. We've tried Zillow, we've tried a few of them. Had the exact same experience. Very, very few of them turn out to even be worth pursuing. And like you said, there's no loyalty there. Cause all they see, they know a name and a picture, that's it. And they're probably contacting three or four other agents, going down the list.
But if you build your own website like you have, people can find that, read your article, "Oh it's a real person," or they have a connection to you, much more likely to be loyal. Same thing if you're meeting people in person, getting referrals from past clients, there's so much more loyalty there than those paid lead sources. They make it sound really good when they talk to you on the phone though. They're good at selling. [Laughs] But in reality we've had the same experience that is has not worked out.
So yeah, moving on to your social media, besides your website, you guys are all over the place on social media. How have you developed a social media strategy and how has that helped your business?
You know the thing with social media and I think where a lot of agents fail, I guess you'd say for a lack of better words, with the social media is they just don't understand that social media's about being social — go figure! [Laughter] But really a lot of agents will go out there, they'll start blasting their listings, "Check out this new listing, this, that and the other thing." Unfortunately, the reality is people aren't going onto Facebook or Twitter really to look for new listings. There's other portals and websites that they can find that information about new houses.
The social media strategy that we've developed is more, again it goes along the lines of this building reach and getting our content and our information and knowledge that we share on our blog in front of potential buyers and sellers. Low pressure, whether it's sharing an article about how to buy and sell a home at the same time, or an article on how to buy your first condominium, whatever it may be it's again about reaching prospective buyers and sellers and then just really educating them, giving them knowledge on things maybe they have interest in.
So really we focus on that more than anything.
No that's great. And do you have a favorite social media outlet? You know, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter? What do you like the best?
Depends on what you're asking. As far as interaction with other agents across the country, or are we talking about — are you asking what my favorite is for gaining prospective clients?
For prospective clients, we'll do that first.
Alright, prospective clients I'd say honestly one of my favorite social media outlets would be Twitter I would say. Only because so many people on Twitter, there's ways you can target your local area as far as the different hashtags you use. Obviously you build a following on Twitter, and hopefully you reach people that eventually are looking to purchase a home.
And again, it's one of those things that's the same as a blog, it's not instantaneous. Someone, it's not — the reality they're not gonna see a tweet you sent out this morning, pick up the phone in an hour and call you and say, "Oh hey, I saw that awesome article you wrote about buying a condo. I'm looking to buy a condo this year." It's just not the reality. The reality is you hope that somebody follows you, local buyers or sellers, and they're checking out the information you're sharing, they're clicking on the articles you're sharing, they're trying to see who you are as a person.
Most people online, consumers, already have done their research before they pick up the phone and call you. They know who you are, they know your areas, they know how long you've been in the business, just that's the power of the Internet. So it's all about putting your best information out there, and that's why I like Twitter as my favorite for reaching prospective clients and buyers and sellers.
Nice! Very nice. And you said something interesting too before that, that's how I met you is you have a huge network of agents across the country through your blog, through social media, that you reach out to that you include in your articles and mention. Has that helped your business locally, having that big network of agents?
As far as receiving incoming referrals or things along those lines?
I can't say that I've gotten any direct referrals from any of the folks that I interact with frequently on social media to this point. Now whether that'll be the case in another two-three years if we talked again, it could be a different answer. But the reality of that is, one of the most important things about social media and blogging and SEO is really is finding one of my biggest pieces of advice I could give to an agent would be, find a group of people that what they're doing is working.
It's pretty easy to tell if you go on any social networks, social media websites you can see pretty quickly who knows what they're doing, what's working well, who's posting things and they're getting a lot of comments and interaction from whether it's other agents or buyers and sellers, whoever it is. If you see someone who's sharing an article and nobody's commenting on it, nobody's sharing it, nobody's giving it a thumbs up on Facebook or whatever it is, it's probably because what they're doing, they're not doing it correctly.
So if you're gonna get involved with social media and blogging, my biggest recommendation is to find a group of folks that know what they're doing, other agents across the country.
Nice. I imagine when you're trying to reach a local audience with SEO, with social media, it may seem weird that you're networking and reaching out to an audience that's national. But the more people you get going to your articles, the more social media connections you have, the more likely those local people will find you and the more likely Google and those other sites will promote that to local people too. So there is huge advantages to getting as many people as possible looking at your stuff.
Yeah absolutely. I mean it's a very simple SEO principle is the more social sharing you get a piece of content, the more that Google's gonna put weight on that that it's a solid piece of content. If somebody's — if you have 1,000 tweets on a piece of content you wrote, Google's gonna give that more weight than somebody who wrote something that has a half a dozen tweets. Because it just to them is showing that the piece of content is quality enough for 1,000 people to share it versus a piece that might only have a half a dozen or a dozen shares on it.
So that's, again, goes back to building those relationships with other agents and a lot of people don't understand why there is such a tight net of agents across the country on certain social media websites because they think to themselves, "Well how's that putting more money in my pocket right now?" Again it goes back to the, it might not be right at this current moment, but in the long run it's helping your content rank, like you mentioned, higher in your local searches.
Right. Exactly. Very cool.
Alright, so we've talked a lot about technology, social media, we've done a great job so far. Let's get back to the basics, how important is a database and past clients to a real estate agent's success?
Without it, I can tell you you probably won't survive in the business. It's absolutely vital to the success of a real estate business. If you don't stay in touch with past clients and trying to get referrals from them. It's very tough in this competitive day and age with technology and the internet, to rely strictly on 100% new leads or 90% new lead, 80% even. I'd say the majority, I'd say about 65% of my business comes from past clients and referrals.
So it's about staying in touch, and we actually use a program and it's a pretty well-known program across the country called Top Producer, which is a client — basically a CRM that allows us to keep in touch with past clients, send out basically have a drip campaign set up in an email. We send our monthly newsletters through email to past clients and basically it's just about keeping your name out there in front of them. As soon as somebody forgets that you're in the business, you're pretty much, you're finished at that point.
I mean somebody's always asking about, "Do you know any agents? Have you bought a house? Have you sold a house?" And if somebody doesn't remember you as soon as somebody asks that question, somebody else will know an agent. That's one thing we always kind of joke about is everybody knows a real estate agent. Most people know a couple real estate agents. So it's all about keeping those relationships with past clients and trying to get referrals from those past clients, that's really the name of the game. That hasn't changed.
Right. Now you said you send out emails and newsletters, do you also do regular old mail pieces, post cards, things like that as well?
Yeah we do. We usually send out probably every quarter, we send out a different post card to the client base. For example, right around the beginning of the football season we send out a Buffalo Bill schedule because we're about an hour from Buffalo. So we send out a schedule on a post card and it's got our photos and our contact information on it. And it's really, again, about keeping your face out there.
Certainly every year we do yearly calendars for magnetic calendars that go on the fridge, again to our client base. So it's trying to at least stay in connection with your past clients, I'd say probably once every quarter at the minimum. Whether it's via email or direct mail, whatever it may be. Phone calls, whatever it is.
No, great stuff. We send out a Bronco's schedule too. Yeah we send out calendars, we do basically the same thing, kind of a mix of email and newsletters and actual physical things that people can stick on their fridge to remember you by. So great stuff! Very cool.
Well Kyle you did an awesome job. I think that's about all I've got on my end for questions. I mean do you have any advice for agents or prospective agents who want to get to the business about how to succeed, how to get started, you know what should they watch out for if they wanna become an agent?
My biggest piece of advice, I got to a first agent who's looking to get into the business, is really is making sure that number one you join a broker that has the proper tools to train you, who has the proper support staff and mentors available to be able to give you advice when you need it. From there it's really, it's up to the individual person how hard they wanna work and how much time and effort they wanna put into it.
Real estate's not the type of business to get into if you only wanna work 20 to 30 hours a week, it's just not. It's always evolving, especially now in 2015 with the Internet and the power that that has, it's always changing, it's never gonna be — you know, you put something on the Internet and it's gonna just continually, it's gonna stay the same and this is how it's gonna be for the next 15 years. It's always about bettering yourself, reading different publications and tips and articles and things like that.
But I mean ultimately again it comes back to finding the right broker I think would be the number one piece of advice I could give to an new agent.
No I totally agree. I think a lot of agents are seeing the low-fee, I like to call them "no service brokerages" where it's just you on your own, but you pay the lowest fee possible to save most of the commission. They say, "Oh hey, I can make more money on each deal." But you don't sell any houses, you don't make more money. [Laughs] It's not if it's a low percentage. So yeah, pick the broker that will help you sell houses, [inaudible] for the higher commissions. That training is forward.
Very cool! Alright so, awesome job. I really appreciate you being on the show. You've got your blog, RochesterRealEstateBlog.com where people can check you out, read your great articles, you do a really good job. If people wanna contact you, is that the best place to go? Or are there other ways to get ahold of you?
Yeah that's always a good place, or via email's always a good one. I could be reached at email@example.com. That's N-o-t-h-n-a-g-l-e.com, and I'm always happy to answer questions, whether it's about real estate, social media, search engine optimization, whatever it is. I'm always willing to try to help share my knowledge and expertise with others. So feel free to reach out.
Great, yeah. Thanks a lot. And we'll have links to your email, to your blog as well on our post for this podcast, so really appreciate it. Great job and yeah hopefully we can talk again soon.
Absolutely Mark. Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.
Alright, thank you.
Alright, take care!