A few years ago I started working with an agent from a local real estate company in Alexandria, Virginia. His name is Gordon Wood and he told me about an idea he had for a great product he was calling WhoHub. Ok…as you can imagine over my nearly 15-year career in Title Sales I have seen and heard a lot of ideas about great real estate tech. The difference, this one made a ton of sense. For one reason, the WhoHub app was created by a long time successful Realtor who designed the WhoHub app for other Realtors and brokerages. If you are like me, I get way too many emails and have to look at several places to find out what the heck is going on with my business. I know many Realtors inside their brokerage have to do the same thing. What if everything you needed was located in one place…on an application on your smartphone?
It’s 2020 and we feel like we are in the movie “Jumanji” not knowing what is going to be thrown at us next. There is also a good chance your marketing plan that was outlined back in January was also put into flux. With the lack of ability to get face to face with people, other methods are needed to get the word out about your business, listings, and of course your value propositions. You have probably heard your broker, real estate coach, or people like me talk about how video is the best way to convey a message to your target audience and can create a 24/7 selling proposition especially if you post content on platforms like YouTube. If you were holding out, the time to jump on the video train is now. Now is the time to begin leveraging with real estate video and start growing an interested audience!
It still seems surreal I’m writing this…
Superheroes can be hurt…but they don’t die. That is what I feel happened on January 26th, 2020 in Calabassas. Nine very important people died that day, but I want to talk about and pay tribute to my hero…Kobe Bryant. If nobody reads this blog, I don’t care because writing this is more therapy for me than anything else. My audience knows me as the “DCTitleGuy” who helps Realtors and Lenders with their business. What you don’t know is my first love is and always will be basketball. At age 41 I am always playing in at least two leagues and sometimes three at the same time. I’ve put in thousands of hours on the court practicing and shooting. I once made 256 free throws in a row and made 47/50 from the 3 point line. I was the 3rd fastest player at my College to score over 1000 points and still hold 2 school records. I love the game…
Kobe Bryant’s laser focus and his ability to be the hardest working player in the gym is what first drew my attention and drove me to do my best. It was the beginning of our relationship.
I want to begin this blog by stating ” I am NOT the greatest Title Sales Rep in the world.” This isn’t going to be about my accomplishments or how I built my business. Instead, this is about something that affects every organically grown Title Company and Title Sales Rep who works their butt off to earn the business of a producing Realtor and to have it potentially taken away on a technicality.
As real estate agents, you are mostly taught to market back to your sphere of influence, friends, family, etc. You should be marketing to these people to get qualified buyer and sellers leads, but there is another segment of potential clients that most Realtors don’t think to market to. People who are vendors, and professional referral sources in similar businesses who help to create business.
In this blog, I’m going to discuss how to create another silo of inbound referrals from people you are more than likely neglecting. It’s not a strategy most agents use, but when I have brought it up to my fellow clients, they raise their eyebrows and a light comes on. Let me share it with you!
Every month, there are thousands of new Realtors entering the profession. Statistically, most new real estate agents won’t make it a long career–many won’t make it past the first 18 months. Why? There are many reasons, but the main reason is new agents don’t know how to generate their own clients. This is information they don’t teach in real estate school. You pass a test and they say “good luck!” This is also why many new agents join teams so they can gain experience, work with active clients, and learn to generate their own business with guidance from a team leader. If you don’t want to join a team or work at a brokerage where teams don’t exist, then you better be a self-starter and eager to become a marketing king. I want to cover some of the basic ways new real estate agents can have a banner first couple years and get their business off the ground by generating their own clients at zero to little cost.
In this second half of the blog, I’m going to focus on how I overcame the struggles of Title Sales and emerge. Many of you reading this might be looking for answers to WHY you might be struggling in the business or that golden nugget that leads to big success. There is no golden nugget other than hard work and lots of innovation. In late August of 2005, I went for an interview at Capital Title in Phoenix Arizona. Not knowing at the time, but Capital was the largest Title Company in Phoenix with almost 30 offices and 20 Title Sales Reps. Realize that in 2005 the housing market was on fire and taking a chance on a kid with no Title Sales experience was a very low risk. The office in which I was assigned already had lots of clients and success. I honestly think back then, my main role was just to maintain all the business we had. When people can buy homes with 100% financing and no income/no asset loans, everyone was a potential buyer. Obviously, that wasn’t sustainable and the market headed south and with it the business.
I recently had a top Realtor attend one of my classes. I followed up like a good Title Rep and she ignored my email, as she gets bombarded all the time (as any top producer does). I let it stir for a few days then gave her a phone call. During the conversation, she stated she liked my class and got a lot out of it…BUT she is loyal to another Title Company where there is a joint venture. I kept her on the phone asking her business questions about what she direction she was trying to go and how Stewart Title could assist. She agreed to meet. We met the next day and she was very happy with the services we offer and the relationship we bring. The JV Title Company didn’t help her with her business. As we spoke in a coffee shop about her business needs, she explained that in her third year in business, she had done 31 buyer deals and 8 listings (in the first 8 months of the year). Very impressive! Though she was happy with her business growth, she said that her largest fear in real estate was…
This is not a blog about how amazing Stewart Title is because we have the best service, escrow staff, etc. Everyone says that about their company. I want to talk about the REAL differences that influence and affect YOU…our clients. Settlement and Title Companies are everywhere in each market. Figuring out who to use to support your business can be tough, especially if they essentially all do the same things. Realtors are viewed the same way. If you don’t have at least one strong value proposition, you are in trouble as consumers will view you as the same as other Realtors.
For quite a while, there have been rumblings in our industry about eClosings. If you are unaware about eClosings, they allow us to conduct a settlement with a buyer/borrower electronically over a computer. Essentially we are doing a “face-time” with the buyer and they sign their closing documents similar to DocuSign. The documents are “e-notarized” and “e-recorded.” If you think this is too outside the box, keep in mind, this technology has been used for years for many things we do in our normal lives. I can pay my mortgage on my phone through an app, or I can order Domino’s Pizza and know online exactly when it goes into the oven. Why not closing on a home? The eClosing process is very easy and Stewart Title has partnered with Pavaso to make things even easier for our clients. Here is a press release that just came out: