Lori Ballen

I test, prove and teach marketing strategies to entrepreneurs, and website owners, so they can generate more traffic and sales. I’m also a licensed real estate agent with a team in Las Vegas.

$400,000 in closed commissions from Expired and For Sale By Owner Real Estate Leads

My name is Lori Ballen and I have a real estate business here in Las Vegas, Nevada. We serve Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and even into Boulder City, Nevada.

I always tell people I could go sell 10 houses in one day, take 11 listings, but if I didn’t lead generate I just feel dirty. ~Aaron Wittenstein

Lead Generation

My main source of real estate leads is from internet marketing, so I am a big SEO girl, I like to rank on the search engines, I drive a lot of traffic through social media, through real estate agent referrals online, and through pay per click  marketing, both regular paid search and paid social.

I am very, very passionate about lead generation. So passionate that I opened a marketing company called Ballen Brands, where we now build real estate agent websites and create blogs and real estate market reports, manage all that pay per click for agents.

So I am now out there interviewing agents who are really rocking out a particular lead generation activity, a particular source. And today we are very fortunate to have Aaron Wittenstein from Westchester County, New York, who specializes in prospecting. Welcome to the show, Aaron.


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About Aaron

Last year Aaron’s real estate team closed about 50 units in New York. Based on it being an attorney state, he likes to point out that the workload is about double what 50 transactions would be somewhere else.

More than half of his business last year came directly from cold call prospecting, expired, for sale by owner, circle prospecting, which we’re going to dive into, and that equates to about $400,000 dollars in commission from that source.

Aaron offers a program called Expired Mastery which is a four-week course. He offers group lead generation coaching as well, which is a weekly call on Tuesdays at 1:00 to 2:15. It’s called Trajectory. You can check that out at trajectorynow.com.



The first question is: how many days a week are you prospecting?

Aaron W.:                     Five days a week. Realistically, yeah, I’m at five days a week right now. I don’t miss a day. It’s ingrained in me over the last four years where if I don’t do it I feel like I didn’t shower. I always tell people I could go sell 10 houses in one day, take 11 listings, but if I didn’t lead generate I just feel dirty. I just feel like I did something wrong.

Lori Ballen:                   That’s a great start to this interview, I love it. Okay, so if you don’t lead generate, you feel dirty. Totally got that. I’m a very similar way although I can say I’ve never probably described it that way. Okay, how many hours a day, then, are you committing to or is your goal for the day to make those calls?

Aaron W.:                     On Mondays, I take my son to school in the morning, so I don’t start till 8:30, and then I’ll roll till about 11, so two-and-a-half hours on Monday. Then Tuesday through Friday I do eight to 11, that’s unless something family-related or health gets in the way. So, it’s pretty much almost 15 hours a week is what I’m doing right now.


The Goal

Lori Ballen:                   There we go. 15 hours a week, okay. And in that 15 hours a week, do you have either averages or goals as to how many contacts you’re hoping to make or how many appointments? What’s your big goal? You go for appointments, I assume?

Aaron W.:                     I go for appointments, that’s the main thing. Well, actually, I should say it’s a combination of either appointments or leads. I call them callbacks, someone that says call me back at some point down the road. So, what I found is if I do 20 contacts, that should equal out to one appointment or four leads is what we should be looking at. And then every four leads should turn into one appointment eventually.

Yeah, that’s a two-way real estate related conversation. That’s not somebody who hangs up the phone on me, tells me to forget off, someone who our house already sold. That’s not a two-way conversation.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, so out of 20 contacts that you actually speak with, your goal is to turn one of those into an appointment or four of those into call-me-back leads?

Aaron W.:                     Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, perfect. Are you using dial software?

Aaron W.:                     I use Seize the Market.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay. Does it track how many dials a day you’re averaging?

Aaron W.:                     It does actually. Oh, there’s a way to figure it out but I’m going to wind up sitting here forever to do it.

Lori Ballen:                   That’s alright. That’s okay. That’s okay.

Aaron W.:                     Yeah, it does tell me how many dials I make.

Where are you having the best success? Is it for sale by owners, expired, circle prospecting?

Aaron W.:                     It’s a combination of both. I’m sorry, expireds and for sale by owners. I don’t personally do circle prospecting-

Lori Ballen:                   Okay.

Aaron W.:                     Just because it’s kind of like throwing a needle in a haystack almost. So, not a bad idea, not for me.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, so you’re doing expired and for sale by owners?

Aaron W.:                     Yes, ma’am.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay. Where are you getting the numbers to call those?


The Phone Numbers

Aaron W.:                     I use data from Vulcan Seven is where I get for sale by owners and expireds. I also use another program, fsbohotsheet.com that I also get some for sale by owner data from as well.

Lori Ballen:                   Fsbohotsheet.com.

Aaron W.:                     I’m averaging 105 dials an hour.

Lori Ballen:                   You average what?

Aaron W.:                     105 dials an hours.

Lori Ballen:                   Oh, 105 dials an hour, perfect. I knew you had that number. Okay, amazing. Okay, so Vulcan Seven, that’s a paid service. Is fsbohotsheet.com a paid service?

Aaron W.:                     It’s really cheap, it’s only $75 bucks a quarter.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay. How accurate do you find the information on those two lists?

Aaron W.:                     Extremely accurate. Extremely. I wouldn’t be using them if they weren’t, so extremely accurate data.

Lori Ballen:                   Do they filter through the Do Not Call list?

Aaron W.:                     Yes, they do.

Lori Ballen:                   And do you find these are mostly landlines or cell phones?

Aaron W.:                     Both. With the expireds, the Vulcan Seven winds up getting an obscene amount of data from people. They’ll typically get two to five phone numbers of different … Whoever the contacts are. And then FSBO Hotsheet will give you usually whatever phone number is listed on that ad.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, perfect. Okay, so you throw these lists into your dialer, your dial goes to work, I’ve seen you do your Facebook Lives and stuff, it’s really cool. So then once you get a live person on the phone, that’s when you jump on and go into script mode. So, scripts. Are you using any kind of specific scripts for these?

Aaron W.:                     Yeah, I create all my own scripts, so the answer is yes.

Lori Ballen:                   Oh, you create all your own?

Aaron W.:                     Yes.

Lori Ballen:                   Did you start off that way or did you use some other ones in the beginning?

Aaron W.:                     I started using other ones. I kind of went between Mike Ferry, Kevin Ward, stuff like that, some Bold Scripts, all over the place, until I really started tweaking them to myself. I found that I took this from here, this from here, and I liked this one that one said, and I made my own scripts.

Lori Ballen:                   Perfect. Are those scripts part of your program that you … ?

Aaron W.:                     Yeah, the Expired Mastery program. For sale by owner, I really don’t have it written down on that one, but my expired script is pretty killer and I do that on Facebook Live all the time.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, cool. I have an idea on that, I’ll message you after the fact.

Aaron W.:                     Okay, cool.

Lori Ballen:                   I love scripts even though I’m not a cold caller. I love to … Scripts is one of the most popular Google searches for real estate agent businesses, did you know that?

Aaron W.:                     I had no idea.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah.

Aaron W.:                     That’s good to know.

Lori Ballen:                   It is really good to know. Somebody like you could really take advantage of that. Alright, so. Okay, so, you’re making these calls … What do you think that somebody just starting off on this, what is the goal of the call? So they get somebody live on the phone, obviously, the goal’s the appointment, but are you going right into, “Hey, I hear your house is expired. I’d like to list it.”? How does that kind of go?

Aaron W.:                     Oh, it’s pretty simple. First off, I think when people are starting brand new, and this is kind of a side note here, is they should really focus on time that they’re on the dialer for. So in a perfect world, every brand new agent should be on for three hours. You don’t focus so much on context because you’re not going to be very good at the beginning, yet you can count on the amount of time that you’re actually making the phone calls for.

Lori Ballen:                   Why is that matter? If they’re not reaching anybody, why is the focus three hours on the dialer?

Aaron W.:                     It’s doing the activity. It’s getting ready … Not saying getting ready, it’s actually doing the activity upon activity upon activity because you’ve got to get used to in the habit of doing on a regular, consistent basis. Because you don’t have to be the best person making the phone calls, you just have to be the most consistent person doing it. And consistency will lead to … Leads, I guess is the best way you could put it. And it will lead to money. I may not be the best person there, but I’ll tell you right now I’ll consistently beat anybody else out there.

Lori Ballen:                   Oh, I love that. Basically what you’re saying is focus on the system, not the goal, although-

Aaron W.:                     Yep. In the beginning.

Lori Ballen:                   We all have set goals. Yeah.

Aaron W.:                     In the beginning because you can’t control how many people are going to pick up the phone every day. That’s out of your control completely, okay? Yet, you can control the number of hours that you’re doing it for. And, if you have time, for example, like I’ve only hit 10 contacts today because I was only on the phone for two hours, I’ll pick up for another hour and see if I can rip through those this afternoon.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay. Is there a best time of day to … I’m going to come back to your script, but is there a best time of day to call, do you find?

Aaron W.:                     8AM for me. Monday through Friday. Eight to 11 is when I make the phone call. The thing for me is I have a young family, I got a six-year-old and three-year-old twins. Keep in mind, with all the work I do, I’m home every day by four o’clock.

So the reason that I call first thing in the morning is that it’s the most convenient time for me because I’m in the office, I’m ready to go, I got energy, and I don’t care when the best time to call is. All that matters is you’re going to do it and what’s the best time for you.

Lori Ballen:                   It’s so funny to hear you say that because I interviewed Robin Mann a few weeks ago on door knocking and she said the exact same thing. I asked her if there was a particular time and she said, “You know what, whatever time’s the best time for me to do it, it’s just being there and actually doing it.” So there’s a common thread there.

Aaron W.:                     Oh, yeah.


The Scripts

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, that makes sense. So you’re calling an expired and, like you said, originally the goal is just make sure you’re putting in the time and you’re there three hours. So somebody answers the phone now and you’ve got an expired. What’s kind of your approach?

Aaron W.:                     First I … Lori?

Lori Ballen:                   Yes.

Aaron W.:                     Okay, so the reason I ask a person by the first name is because that’s the way a friend’s going to answer the phone. What I found is if you say, “I’m looking for the owner of,” or you say, “Hello, is this Jim?” Then they’re going to kind of wonder who you are calling and it sounds much more business related that way. So, like Lori it’s, “Hi, Lori?”

Lori Ballen:                   That is so smart. Yes, hi.

Aaron W.:                     “Lori, hi it’s Aaron, I’m a local realtor,” I don’t use my last name and I don’t use Keller Williams because too many Keller Williams’ agents call. “I’m the local realtor. As you’re probably aware you’re property came off the market last night. Did you sell that property privately or do you have it up for sale by owner?”

Lori Ballen:                   I was listed with an agent.

Aaron W.:                     “Got it, so you were listed with an agent for it, got it.” Now, the reason you ask that question is because it’s a real pattern interrupter because no one’s asking that question and it really throws them off their game.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, that’s interesting, because it did … I had to stop and process because if we’re doing an expired it would’ve just … Yeah, that’s great. Okay, so now I tell you that it was listed with an agent.

Aaron W.:                     “Got it. So I’m trying to figure out how in the world did that place not sell?”

Lori Ballen:                   The real estate agent didn’t market it correctly.

Aaron W.:                     “Got it. So you had poor marketing, is that correct?”

Lori Ballen:                   Yes, absolutely.

Aaron W.:                     “So, what happened?”

Lori Ballen:                   Well, there weren’t very many open houses and didn’t seem like we got very many showings so … I’ve kind of called the real estate agent several times to see what was happening with it and they told me it was in the MLS but I really didn’t see much else beyond that.

Aaron W.:                     “Got it. Now, are you living in the property or is it vacant?”

Lori Ballen:                   I’m living in it.

Aaron W.:                     “You’re living in it?” Because the reason I say if it’s vacant is that I’m not getting off the phone without that appointment if it’s vacant. Then I’ll be like, “Okay. Well, what my team actually does is we specialize in selling homes that are on the market for extended periods of time without selling. I’ve taken homes that were on the market for as long as 1,039 days and flipped them around in an average of 29. I’d love to stop by and have a conversation. What works better for you, late morning, early afternoon or Saturday?”

Lori Ballen:                   I got to call my husband first. I’m not really … He can call you back.

Aaron W.:                     “Sure, sure. So you want to talk with your husband first?”

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah.

Aaron W.:                     “Alright, when do you think you’d have an opportunity to speak with him?”

Lori Ballen:                   Probably tonight after work.

Aaron W.:                     “Okay, so why don’t we do this? Why don’t get a tentative appointment down in the schedule and that way you can chat with your husband, we can firm it up to make sure the time doesn’t get booked by somebody else? So what works better, late morning, early afternoon or Saturday?”

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, that’s good. Alright, so now we booked the appointment. So I like what you said, going back a second, I like what you said about the vacant. So you paused there and said, “I’m asking that question because if they’re in the house I’m not missing the appointment”?

Aaron W.:                     No. If the house is vacant, and it’s expired, it’s like a slam dunk right there.

Lori Ballen:                   Oh, gotcha, because it should’ve sold. I noticed you also did not respond … You acknowledged the fact that I said it was the real estate agent that didn’t do any marketing, but you didn’t really respond to the fact that the real estate … You didn’t try to counteract that or prove your value or any of that kind of stuff. You went right into your next close for the appointment which was, “We sell homes on average blah, blah, blah.” So, you didn’t address that. So, does that mean no matter what objection I would’ve thrown out right there that would’ve been your next line?

Aaron W.:                     Well, yeah, because what happens is people get so tied up in objection handling when the goal is not to handle objections.

The goal is to three R is what I call it: repeat, reaffirm, redirect with another question.

So any objections that you give me I’m just going to take it, I’m going to be like, “Alright, cool. I understand,” I’m going to repeat what you said and I’m just going to do one of my objection handlers that just move on to the next question. And then I’m going to ask my next question and a series of questions that I have.

So, I’m a for sale by owner and you’re calling me.

Aaron W.:                     With for sale by owners I don’t have a full and firm script to really rationalize … What’s the word? Not rationalize. I don’t have a firm script that’s set up. The main goal of the for sale by owners is to find out information and just dig a little bit and keep in touch with them on a regular basis. So, it’s more of a long-term nurture on a for sale by owner. So I’ll call and be like, “Hi, I’m looking for,” this one use I don’t have first names, “I’m looking for the owner of 123 Smith Street.”

Lori Ballen:                   Okay.

Aaron W.:                     And then, I’ll be like, “I’m looking for the owner of 123 Smith Street.”

Aaron W.:                     “Hi, my name’s Aaron. I’m a local realtor, I just want to get that out of the way right off the bat. And I’m just curious, how’s everything going for in the process so far?”

Lori Ballen:                   I’m not listing with an agent.

Aaron W.:                     “Totally respect that, totally respect that. My intention isn’t to help you list the property, it’s just to kind of stay in touch with you, everything’s going.” Now, I never use the “I have a buyer” script or anything like that. So, what I’ll do, depending on what it is, I’ll just dig. I’ll be like, “So, got it. So are you planning on staying in the area?”

Lori Ballen:                   No, we’re going to be moving to a nearby smaller town.

Aaron W.:                     “What type of a timeframe, in a perfect world, would you like to be out of the home by?”

Lori Ballen:                   Well, in a perfect world it would be yesterday, but we don’t have any specific reason we need to move fast.

Aaron W.:                     “Got it. Okay, so what my team actually does is we specialize in helping for sale by owners that had their house on the market for whatever period of time because what I found is that is who can net you more money. Alright, so the question is, if I can get you the same amount of money that you could for your property, would be open to sitting down and having a conversation?”

Lori Ballen:                   Sure, if you can show me how I make more money.

Aaron W.:                     “Okay, so let’s say this. Hypothetically speaking, alright, let’s say that you wanted a million dollars for your property, alright? And I found somebody that’s willing to pay the million dollars and I charge you another million dollars, alright? So, therefore, we’re at two million dollars. And I can find some idiot to pay the two million dollars for your property, you’re still getting the million, I make a million, and we can even split the difference. Does that make sense?”

Lori Ballen:                   Yes, sure.

Aaron W.:                     See, I usually do one dollar and a million, I just messed it up right there.

And then the reality of it is is that I’m never locking down an appointment right there in that first week. What I’m going to do is I’m going to follow-up within a week, “Lori, hey, it’s Aaron Wittenstein over at Keller Williams Real Estate, how are you?

Great. Just wanted to catch up on the property, see how everything’s going.” And then by … You just do the same thing on the next phone call and the same thing on the next phone call and then by the third phone call they get to know you a little bit and then you can sense their frustration as you go. So it’s almost just staying in touch, staying in touch, staying in touch, staying in touch, because most … 80% of for sale by owners will list within six weeks of putting a property on the market themselves.

Lori Ballen:                   I heard that. I was at the Keller Williams Family Reunion convention and Jackie Kravitz was doing a presentation and I’ll tell you, when I heard that stat, I forget what she said if it was they list in the first 90 days or something similar to what you said, I was blown away. I’m like, I need to go start chasing for sale by owners.

Aaron W.:                     They’re great. It’s just people don’t want to stay in the long haul for it, they want the one and done, one and done, one and done. It just doesn’t work that way.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah. So, expireds you’re going right for the appointment, and for sale by owners are more of a nurture, trying to build trust and relationship through follow-up calls.

Aaron W.:                     Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                   Which one do you find the most success with? I would imagine there are a lot more expireds than for sale by owners, right?

Aaron W.:                     Expireds I had massive success with last year. This year we’ve been having a lot more success with for sale by owners just because there’s not a lot of expireds, that’s what we’ve be challenged with and a lot of them are just re-listing with the same agent, which I just don’t understand logically in my head whatsoever. So, I’ve been shifting a lot of my work to for sale by owners.

We actually went back two years on old for sale by owners to get some really old stuff which has been working out really well so far.

Lori Ballen:                   Oh, I love that. We’re the same way with Internet leads. The best opportunity is to go back through web leads that are two years old and start calling them because, just like for sale by owners, if they didn’t sell and they decide to sit on it you’ve got a year of this cultivation time or two before they put it back on the market or, with an Internet lead, before they’re qualified or have their credit approved so I love going back through old leads. I think that’s really smart.  If they didn’t sell, right, you’ve got a gold mine.

Aaron W.:                     Well, no one else is touching them too, that’s why. They’re not getting inundated. The brand new for sale by owners get killed, but the old ones really work well.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, I love that. Do you ever back that up with any kind of direct mail or anything?

Aaron W.:                     Yeah. We have an Eight by Eight email campaign that we use and we’re actually implementing, as soon as the docs come in, we’re going to be implementing a 10-day blitz for expireds. A mailer every other day for 10 days on top of an Eight by Eight expired email campaign.

Lori Ballen:                   I love that and I’ll be fascinated to know what your results are after the fact. When I was doing direct mail, let’s see, it was 2007 to 2010, we were doing a ton of direct mail, and that’s where I was getting a lot of my business from expireds and it was through direct mail. And that’s exactly what I did, as soon as it expired the first day I sent a card, like a full on greeting card so there was a financial investment. But, everybody’s going to open a greeting card.

Aaron W.:                     Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                   That’s not something they’ll throw away, so I wanted to make sure that that landed. And then I set that up on a series to where it touched them seven times. Or, actually, I think it went 10 or 12, but seven was my average. It took about seven … So, if I was spending a buck apiece, it was like a seven dollar investment before I got that call. But I didn’t find over time that that was … It seemed like direct mail was waning. But I think with your calls and piggybacking on that direct mail, I love that brand reinforcement and trust. Oh, there he is again. Oh, there he is again. Right?

Aaron W.:                     I’m just going to bomb them for 10 days and I figure I’ll give it a try. I bought enough for 500 houses, so we’ll see how that goes. I figure after 500 we’re going to know if it works or not.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, I love that. I think that’s a really good idea. What else … So, anybody, that’s listening here in our last five minutes, what advice would you give somebody … You gave us great advice that one, they just need to stay on. They just need to be there for their three hours and do their dials. What else might help them be more successful?

Aaron W.:                     Realize that you’re not going to be very good for a long time.  Because basically, you’re going to suck, is the best way to put it.  What winds up happening with most people is like I say, you consistently dial for 15 hours a week.

So you talk to someone that’s brand new and they’re like, “Cold calling’s not for me.” I’ll be like, “Interesting. Why is that?” And they’re like, “Because it didn’t work last week.” I’ll be like, “So let me get this straight. You dialed for a week, right?”

They’re like, “Yeah, we dialed for a week. It didn’t work.” I’m like, “So, you dialed three hours a day, right?” They’d be like, “Well, no, we did more like two hours a day.” “Okay, got it. So you cold called for 10 hours last week?” And I’ll be like, “How many times were you going to the bathroom? Did you stop to talk to somebody? Did you grab a glass of water?” They’re like, “Ah, well, maybe half.” “Alright, so let me get this straight.

You lead generated for five hours last week and you wonder why you suck?”

[su_note note_color=”#fbfabf” radius=”4″]What winds up happening is people start off really bad. They just suck, then they kind of suck, then they just suck, then they’re like way below average, then they’re below average, and then they’re just average. They may never become better than average, but as long as you’re doing the consistent work day in and day out you will completely average your way to success.[/su_note]



Lori Ballen:                   I love it. You’ll average your way to success. That’s genius. How do you handle the rejection?

Aaron W.:                     You can’t be rejected by someone that doesn’t want to call you in the first place and somebody you’re not even looking at face-to-face.

The way that I look at it, rejection is like back in my single days or something where you go out and someone says, “I don’t want to have anything to do with you. You’re ugly.” That’s rejection. Rejection is like my wife telling me  (I don’t have any hair) but saying, “Your hair looks horrible.” That’s rejection. But these people, they never wanted to be called by you in the first place. So they don’t know you, they’ve never seen you, so how can you be rejected by someone that you’ve never seen and doesn’t want to hear from you ever? It’s not rejection.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, well, how about if I’m worried that I’m disrupting somebody’s life?

Aaron W.:                     You are.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, you are.

Aaron W.:                     No, but here’s the thing though. The way you come at it is that I’m really good at my job. Like I’m really good. And I’m calling to help you out. Because you have this mindset that you’re helping to make a contribution, whatever you want to say, is that if you have that mindset that these people are just normal people that are pissed because if you think about it, your house just expired from the Multiple Listing Service, alright? And you had an agent for six months that didn’t do their job, and the next thing you know, you’ve got 37 million agents calling you? I would be pissed too. That’s why you’ve got to be the first one that makes the phone calls.

Lori Ballen:                   Ah, love it. Okay, so if anybody wants to send you a referral, do you have a team or is it just you?

Aaron W.:                     We actually … Like last year it was just me and my operations manager, so the transactions we did was just the two of us. Now I’ve got … The two of us, we’ve got a virtual assistant, we’ve got a buyer specialist and just brought in a listing specialist last week.

Lori Ballen:                   Whew, you’re about to go through some growing pains.

Aaron W.:                     I know, I’m looking forward to it, I think.

Lori Ballen:                   Ah, I remember that. Okay, so they would … I’ve got your number here, 914-406-6483, and I will put that in the write-up. You’re aaron@westchestersales.com. Aaron Wittenstein, Westchester, New York. And you told us the links to your training programs so we will put those in there as well. Is there anything else I didn’t ask you or any leaving thoughts for our audience?

 I think that whether it’s Internet marketing, whether it’s for sale by owners, whether it’s expired, whether it’s door knocking, whether it’s database, whether it’s whatever it is, just whatever you’re going to do, take the time to figure out what that is and consistently do it.

Contact Aaron

Keller Williams White Plains
120 Bloomingdale Road, Suite 101
White Plains, NY

Aaron Wittenstein
Mobile: 914-406-6483

Instagram Stories Real Estate Leads, Early Adopters WIN!

We ran an ad for $25 for four days and got 5,000 views,128 clicks, and 12 registrations.

Hey everybody. Welcome to this week’s show. I’m excited to have you guys all on here. For those of you that are listening for the first time, this post is from an original podcast. I also have a blog video series that goes along with it where we are talking specifically about lead generation for real estate.

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I don’t know all things about lead generation. My specialty is generating leads from the internet, specifically through Search Engine Rankings and Social Media. But there’s a lot out there that I haven’t learned yet.

So by bringing on other real estate agents on that specialize in a specific type of lead generation or have had some success with something new that they’re trying, we all learn.  I like to bring them on to have them share with us what it is that they’re doing.

Some of the agents that we interview are doing 24 transactions a year, and some are doing several hundred a year. And today happens to be one of the several hundred.

I have John Verdeaux on the call with me today. He is partners with Holli McCray. They are actually married and they are the number one real estate team in Tennessee.  Last year they did 406 transactions, which is super exciting. They’re big, big producers, and John is somebody a lot like me, generates a lot of his leads on the internet.


Lori Ballen:                   All right. This is very interesting. I know you guys personally, so it helps me a little bit with knowing how your team is wired a little bit. You guys have several streams of leads coming in, several different sources, and web is one of the larger ones that you guys do.

You also do radio. You have an ISA team, and of course, you’re doing sphere of influence and agent referrals. Is there anything major that I missed? Oh, pay-per-click marketing. Is there any other type of lead gen I didn’t mention?

John:                            No, those are the top sources. Those are the places we generate the vast majority of our business. I think you pretty much covered it there.

Lori Ballen:                   All right. You told me that 20% of all of your buyer leads are coming from social media ads, and 6% of your listing leads are coming from, also from social ads, which is also huge.

For the people that might hear 20% and 6% and automatically favor the buyer side, but most of us would raise our hands all day long for 6% of the listing side to be generated, because that’s, we all know, is where the money is, so that’s also really incredible.


Instagram Stories Ads

Specifically, we focus mainly on Instagram and Facebook. We create our own ads on both platforms routinely. We have our own system of generating buyer and seller leads.

We treat each as its own almost apartment per se because the value proposition is completely different and the ad structures are completely different when you’re focusing your attention to try to generate buyer or seller leads.

But like I said, we are very consistent and we’re very focused on those two platforms for lead generation.

Instagram works a little bit different because there are ways of doing it. If you’re going to, the way that a lot of people do it is they promote posts. They post a video of their listing or they post some sort of content on Instagram.

Then you can promote that post directly from the post, but you have to go through Instagram. Now once you created that ad, you can go to your ads manager account and then edit it from there. But in order to create the ad you’ve got to go through Instagram, put the post on Instagram and then create the ad. Now that’s one way of doing it.

The other way of doing it is actually creating a campaign like you would for Facebook ads, through your ads manager account on Facebook, and you can set up campaigns and ad groups for things like Instagram Stories, which we started doing too.

If you go into your account and you’re looking at it,  there are those little stories at the top of your account. They are like little circles and they show different people that you follow.

If they’ve posted an Instagram story, you’ll see it up at the top of your account there. They’re a popular way of getting information out to your followers and to keep in touch with people.

What Instagram has done fairly recently is allowed you to create ads that run specifically with those stories at the top, and the reason being is because there are a lot more eyes on Instagram stories than there are on the traditional posts based on the statistics.

Instagram has now monetized that, or Facebook I guess, they’re one and the same in terms of the paid business portion of it. You can run those ads on the stories and get a really great audience in terms of eyes looking at those ads on Instagram as opposed to just Facebook for those ads.

Instagram Stories ads work just like Facebook ads. You can create a specific audience that you can get that ad out to. Same structure, you’re going to go through the ads manager, create the campaign, you’re going to create your audience, just like you would on Facebook.

The only difference in that is instead of your placement being on say Facebook mobile, or the audience network or something like that, you’re going to specifically be creating an ad for stories. It’s going to say Stories on Instagram when you’re creating the campaign.

Everything for that campaign is done through ads manager, and then you’re just basically creating that campaign specifically for Instagram Stories.

Your audience could be whatever it wants. It can be location specific. It can be demographic specific. All of the tools that are available on Facebook for refining your audience are available for these ads too.


How it Works

How it works is someone’s scrolling through their Instagram account. They go up to the Stories. They click on one and they start scrolling through their Instagram Stories by swiping left or right, and they also scroll through on their own.

So you’re scrolling through your Stories or you’re looking through your daily updates from all of your followers or the people that you follow, and then within that action of moving through the different Stories, your ad will pop up, if that person fits the audience that you’re targeting.

Instagram Stories ads aren’t that old in the world of sponsored ads. We’ve been A/B testing a lot and we’re running buyer and seller ads.  I can tell you based on the last 60 days of data, the buyer ads that we’re running are doing much better than the seller ads.

Our seller ads on Facebook do very, very well, but so far we haven’t quite found the secret sauce on the Instagram Stories ads for sellers. But for buyers, we’re getting a lot of registrations from our Instagram Stories ads.


The Ads

When I started, I just googled Instagram Stories ads and looked at what some of the top companies out there like Coke, Pepsi are using for their ads, and kind of get a gauge of structure from there.

It’s very simple. I mean, for instance, the one we’re running right now just says, “Ready to buy a home? Search now.” It’s got a nice picture of a kitchen, and then there’s obviously the swipe up option at the bottom that’ll take you to how the ad works is a swipe.

So they swipe up and it takes them right to whatever site you’re generating, you’re trying to get traffic to. It’s the home search site for us. It doesn’t need to be wordy. It doesn’t need to have tons of content. Far less content than Facebook ads, but it’s just very basic, it is very right to the point.

So you want a high resolution image. We tried the video and it did okay, but the high-resolution picture of a kitchen or a really nice home and then basic text, like for instance, search now, ready to buy a home, that’s all we’ve got. You can do a little more, a little less.

On the click, we’re basically going to send them to a very generic link that’s going to get them to start searching for properties within the audience area that we’re targeting.

For instance, we live in Knoxville. So the link that they’re going to go to will take them immediately to homes that are for sale in Knoxville. We don’t want to get too specific because we don’t really know, unless what the price point they’re looking at, but you got to make sure that wherever you’re sending them it’s giving them immediately what they’re looking for.

For home search they swipe up, homes to look at, and should have the search customization features on your IDX page available so they can start customizing.

The campaign set up is almost exactly the same structure and everything, except you’re running in the Stories ad. The setup part is almost identical in terms of setting up the audience. If you understand how to do that on Facebook, this should be a breeze for you.

Where it gets, it’s different is actually when you’re creating the actual ad. The size of the photo is a lot different. You’re going to have to keep that in mind when you’re creating your because you’re going to have to do some Photoshop ahead of time. If you’re going to do a photo for example, you’ve got to put your text on that photo and Photoshop it on there before you actually upload it to your Facebook.

Canva is perfect.

I’ve run all sorts of different ads at this point. Just like Facebook, every few days you got to change them up anyway because they get stale.

We don’t run an ad more than or we don’t run the same ad more than five days. After five days we’re going to change it up with a new photo and a new value proposition maybe. Because what happens is the same people are seeing those ads a lot of times, and if it’s the same thing over and over again, its effectiveness begins to deteriorate. So you want to change it up.

💡 In yourAds Manager, in the delivery option, you can view your frequency score. The number there reflects how many times on average your viewers are seeing the same ad. Some Marketers will change their ads when that threshold reaches a certain limit. Ad Frequency can also affect your relevance score, which in turn can affect your ad costs.

We’re using professional photos in our ads from our own listings, the nice ones.


Costs And Time

It’s infinitely cheaper. I think that’s because there’s not a lot of people doing it. You have far less competition.

Here’s the reality. Social media advertising is so ridiculously cheap for what value it brings that it’s insane if you’re not doing it. In terms of ROI and in terms of effectiveness for lead gen, it is the best deal out there by far.

[su_note note_color=”#fbfabf” radius=”4″]Lori Ballen:  Yes, so long as you’re careful still with, I mean I’ve seen people put some ridiculous amounts of money in lead ads and things or paying through the roof on lead ads because they don’t understand how to set the audience up correctly or they’re choosing too many demographics in their audience, they’re paying too much, or their landing page is terrible, so their relevance score goes down, so there is a little … You’re right. It’s definitely more affordable. You still got to have a little bit of a handle on what you’re doing.[/su_note]

Yeah, that’s true, and it takes a lot of TLC. That’s always good to get somebody like [eafl id=”12705″ name=”Ballen Brands” text=”Ballen Brands”] to come in and do that for you if you don’t want to fool with it because it does require a lot of attention.

Lori Ballen:                   Are you looking at this every day, once a week? How often do you visit your account?

John:                            Three to four times a week probably. On the side we’re always doing a lot of things. We’re running boosted listing video posts. Those are really effective for getting register-

Lori Ballen:                   On Facebook or Instagram?

John:                            Both, on Facebook and Instagram. We’re doing some other stuff while we’re doing these.

Lori Ballen:                   Tell me about that. What did you say, it’s a listing video, so it’s one of your current listings that you’ve got professional video-

John:                            Yes. So our photographer will do a video of our listings, the nice ones at least, the ones that garner, that would benefit from that. Then we’re just posting it on Facebook along on Instagram with the video along with a link back to the actual listing with all the details on our IDX site and-

We ran an ad for $25 for four days and got 5,000 views,128 clicks, and 12 registrations.

Our sellers are thrilled because they’re getting tons of exposure on their listing too, so it’s a win-win.


Ad Targeting

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, so let me ask you on those demographics. You’ve got a new listing and it’s in Knoxville and it’s, I don’t even know your guys’ price range, $800,000 house, whatever, it’s a nice one, and you do the virtual tour on it, you run the video ads. It has a link back to more information, and that’s where they register to become a lead, right?

John:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lori Ballen:                   When you run that ad, who is your target audience?

John:                            This is where the grinding comes in, and this is where having guys like you come in and do it for you is important because it’s taken a long time to figure out what the secret sauce is, and really it’s not any more difficult than … We’ve really just narrowed it down to a radius around the property …

Lori Ballen:                   How far?

John:                            Whatever the radius of the city is.

Lori Ballen:                   How far of a radius?

John:                            It depends on the city. For instance, if it’s in Knoxville we’re going to do 40 miles. If it’s in a smaller satellite city, then we might do more. It depends on where it is and what’s around it. Say we do 40 miles in Knoxville, and people who have … You have three options.

You have lived in, or recently been to, or currently in. We do people who are currently in, that area, and that’s it. I mean, there really nothing more complicated than that.

We’ve tried to narrow it down and refining the range and it’s absolutely killed our conversion.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, yeah. That’s what I was going to say. There are a couple things that I’m seeing with the target demographics, and I think there’s a time for it, I think especially with certain seller ones or you’re trying to reach, like if I want to reach teachers and I want to promote the Homes for Heroes program or the Teachers Program, I’m going to target firefighters or I’m going to target teachers or things like that here in Nevada.

But when you’re talking about people that potentially might buy a house, the second you check off that little box that says likely to move, the cost-per-click goes through the roof and it completely changes the demographic based on their lifestyle situations.

Then you add age. You add income. You add the male. You add female. Every time you add an audience you’re changing your cost-per-click for those demographics. Now you get fewer clicks, you’re not reaching as many people, and it doesn’t necessarily add up to a higher conversion rate either unless it’s a really specialty thing.

If it’s a specialty thing and you really need … If somebody’s going to market cat products, they really should choose people that have a cat.

But if somebody is going to buy a house, I think somebody in the area is your absolute best candidate. I mean, I do think to myself sometimes like, “Okay, if this is a million dollar home or even a $500,000 home in Vegas,” which is in the mid-range for us, I used to select all the income because I only wanted people that could qualify for that price range, but then I realized I’m actually shooting myself in the foot.

It’s kind of like if you sit at an open house you’re probably not going to sell that house. Your goal is to pick up the buyers that come in there and sell them a different one probably.  You’re probably going to sell them a different house because that house isn’t going to match something that they want.

Well, the same is true with these Facebook ads. If you don’t give them the ability to click through and start shopping for homes, even if they’re in a different price range, you’ve never gotten the opportunity to actually capture that person’s interest that might actually want to buy a house. They just might not be in that price range.

John:                            Right. And you never know if mom’s on Facebook and sees the house and maybe their kids looking for a house or uncle or relative, and oh my gosh. A lot of times you see people tag other people on your sponsored posts, and that’s because they know somebody who might be interested in that property.

Lori Ballen:                   Do you do anything with those tags? Do you communicate with the people that tag at all?

John:                            We try to respond to everybody. Sometimes those tags are a little weird because you really don’t know what their purpose is, but generally we’ll respond back and say, “Hey, if you need any more information about this property, or ones like it, let us know, and we’ll post, we’ll reply back to it.” I would say 2 to 3 times out of 10 we’ll get a response.

When you’re targeting your neighborhood think of the age range and the price range of your neighborhood because you’ve got to remember, Instagram is a much younger crowd. It’s fine, it’s great, but are you going to do well luxury homeless things on Instagram? Probably not.

A lot of people like it better than Facebook who are younger. I think that you listen to the people that are credible in the world, they think that it’ll eventually overtake Snapchat with the evolution, so not say that’s going to happen but I’ve heard that. So it’s important.

Again, now is the time to get in, get your feet wet and get smart about this because this is totally going down another road. But I think over time as larger companies realize that spending their marketing dollars on social media is better than spending it on TV commercials, which I think will happen in the near future, you’re going to start seeing the cost of this stuff going up.

And it’ll be like where pay-per-click is now. 10 years ago if you did pay-per-click it was next to nothing in terms of cost, but now it’s expensive. We’ve shifted a lot of money away from pay-per-click in the last I would say six to eight months into social because not only is it cheaper, but our conversion rates are starting to improve on social to the point where it’s not making less and less sense for us to spend the money on pay-per-click. It just depends.


Lead Conversion

With these types of leads, if you have a [eafl id=”11654″ name=”Auto Pilot ISA” text=”good follow-up system whether it be automated or through your ISA”] department and whatnot and a good touch program, that number goes up dramatically.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, still as industry averages it’s ridiculously low and I think that’s what people don’t realize, that there really has to be, there just has to be a system in place to actually see these all the way through. You wind up spending a bunch of money, you might be able to capture a lot of leads on one particular ad, but if you don’t have the systems and processes in place it makes it very challenging to get those to the closing table for the ads.

Listen to more of our Agent Success Series on Youtube, The Blog, and the Podcast.

John Verdeaux | Holli McCray Team
Keller Williams Realty, 5616 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919
Phone: (865) 291-0355

$2,000,000 in Real Estate Sales from One Knocked Door

Hey, everybody. Thanks for joining me today. Welcome to the agent success series where we focus on lead generation for real estate agents. My name is Lori Ballen, and I have a real estate team here in Las Vegas, Nevada, serving Henderson and North Las Vegas. All of my real estate leads come from the internet, from web marketing, real estate websites, pay-per-click, and from real estate agent referrals on social media.

Audio Interview

I’m out here interviewing top agents across the nation and even out of the country, talking about what they do and how they generate a large amount of real estate leads through a particular source.

Today, we have Robin Mann who is here to talk about Door Knocking and how she sold 2 million dollars in real estate from one door knock!

It’s a mindset. For me, I’m not bothering anyone. I’m not soliciting. I’m not selling anything. I am truly inquiring. I’m trying to be of help. I’m coming from contribution, which is, again, another Keller Williams thought pattern.


Today I’m here with Robin Mann, who got snow today, I understand.

Where are you at, Robin, where you got snow today?

Robin Mann:                 Well, I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina. I also serve the Fort Mill, South Carolina area, but Charlotte, which …

We get snow typically twice a year. We got snow today. Schools got closed, which literally we get four flakes, there schools get closed. But, yeah, we’re not used to snow, so we don’t have trucks or salt or anything. So, when it snows, it’s a big deal. Yeah, we were shocked to … It’s not like anything … It’s all gone now, but they just get afraid for buses and all that good stuff.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, that’s what happens to us in Vegas when it rains. Nobody knows what the heck to do when it’s raining. I’m surprised our schools don’t close. They probably should.

All right, so you serve Charlotte, North Carolina and Fort Mill, South Carolina, so anybody that has a referral, I’m gonna encourage you to remember Robin Mann who is gonna share with us today … You’re gonna talk about your techniques in door knocking.

Am I reading your bio here correctly that 62% of your business comes from door knocking?

Robin Mann:                 No. I do door knocking and I don’t know whether you want me to speak today about door knocking or whether about Facebook-

Lori Ballen:                   Door knocking.

Robin Mann:                 Okay.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah.

Robin Mann:                 Door knocking, I got my largest client ever from door knocking.

Lori Ballen:                   Tell us about that. Tell us about that.

Robin Mann:                 It was phenomenal. I had sold a townhome in this little subdivision. They sold for 180. We had 20 offers in one day, had 42 showings. It was insane. So, that told my brain I needed to knock this neighborhood because obviously, it’s a hot commodity.

So, I knocked the neighborhood. I knocked on this beautiful older lady’s door and she answered the door. I told her what had just happened and I was looking for homes to sell and was she interested. She said, “Of course.” She said, “Yes, I am. Come on in.”

I don’t always go in, but I really trust my intuition. Read the vibe, it felt good. I didn’t feel like I was gonna get killed or anything, so went in and we started talking. She’s like, “Yeah, I want you to sell this townhome,” and she said, “But I really want you to sell the eight townhomes that I own with a partner up in Cotswold.”

Cotswold is an up-and-coming area of Charlotte, so as soon as she said it, my knees buckled. I lost all the saliva in my mouth ’cause I was like, “This can’t be real.” ‘Cause I knew it would be over a million at least, just from that moment, the statement.

Yeah. Ended up selling it for 1.2 and, again, multiple offers. Then ended up helping her buy a house. She was gonna not buy a house and then she called and she was like, “You know what? I’ve decided to buy.” So, one door knock led to about two million dollars in sales.

Lori Ballen:                   Oh, that’s gonna be the title of this interview. Holy cow, that’s an incredible start. [inaudible 00:03:54] I’ll tell you.

So, tell me, how long have you been in real estate?

Robin Mann:                 I’m in my fourth year.

Lori Ballen:                   Oh, fourth year? So you’re pretty new. Wow.

Robin Mann:                 Yes.

Lori Ballen:                   That’s really exciting then. So you got into real estate and you just started door knocking because somebody said you should door knock, or how did that come to be?

Robin Mann:                 Yes. My first nine months, I had another full-time job from 8:00 to 5:00 and I did real estate before work, at lunch, and then after work, and then, of course, all weekend.

I needed business ’cause I didn’t wanna take the leap of a full-time real estate position without feeling like I was gonna be successful. If I didn’t have an open house available, I decided I would door knock.

I just would pick neighborhoods that I like or that have good sales in there or they just seem like it’s a neighborhood that I would want to connect with people. Either they had good schools, or they’re in a good location, or I know that the probability of something listing will sell.

Yeah, I just started knocking. Of course, I’m with Keller Williams, and of course, that’s one of the avenues that they tell you to do if you’re comfortable with it. I make it very personal-

Lori Ballen:                   Tell me first. When it comes to door knocking, a lot of people that I know in real estate, including myself, would be absolutely completely freaked out to go knock on doors. That’s just not … Other people are natural at it, and then some just figure it out. Where do you fall on that spectrum? Are you naturally not afraid of that type of thing?

Robin Mann:                 No, I’m not afraid. I remember being in fifth grade selling whatever the school made you sell so that you could get points so you could get the prize stuff out of the magazine.

Lori Ballen:                   Oh, very nice.

Robin Mann:                 So, I remember doing that way back when. But, no, I don’t ever knock in a neighborhood that I feel unsafe in. I have knocked in-

Lori Ballen:                   I don’t mean scared like unsafe. I mean more like the fear of rejection, and getting shut down, and bothering people, and … You just never had any concerns about that?

Robin Mann:                 No, because it’s a mindset. For me, I’m not bothering anyone. I’m not soliciting. I’m not selling anything. I am truly inquiring. I’m trying to be of help. I’m coming from contribution, which is, again, another Keller Williams thought pattern.

I’m coming from contribution. My deal is that I’ve got buyers that wanna be in this neighborhood and I’m looking for people who wanna sell their home, so-

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, so that’s always your approach every time?

Robin Mann:                 Always.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay.

Robin Mann:                 Every single time, even if I don’t-

Lori Ballen:                   You say, “I have buyers in your neighborhood …”

Robin Mann:                 “I have buyers that wanna be in your neighborhood and looking to find out if you or if you know one of your neighbors looking to sell their home.”

Lori Ballen:                   Do you give any specifics, or is that it? “I have buyers looking to buy in your neighborhood.”

Robin Mann:                 I usually try to be as general as possible. If they go further like what are they looking for … Which I don’t know that I’ve ever had that. I knock a lot of homes.

I should say I knock a lot of homes and I have maybe … Let’s say I’ve knocked … We’ll just say low. I know I’ve knocked way more than this. Let’s say if I’ve knocked 100 homes, I’ve maybe had two people ever be rude. Ever.

So, yes, I always come from contribution. Or even, “Do you wanna know the value of your home?” But typically if I’ve sold a home in the neighborhood, I’ll obviously say, “I just sold that home down the street. I know you saw it on the market. I don’t know if you came to the open house.”

But I just try to let ’em know I’ve got somebody wants to be in the neighborhood and I’m looking to help.

Lori Ballen:                   How frequently are you … I know you have other sources. You mentioned the 62% is Facebook sphere and door knocking. How often are you actually door knocking?

Robin Mann:                 At least two times a month, and I should do more. I’m working on my leverage so that I can do more, but-

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, because when you get busy, the first thing to go typically is lead generation, ’cause now you’re doing deals, right?

Robin Mann:                 Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah. I totally get it.

Robin Mann:                 At least two times a month. It’s a non-negotiable that I’m doing it at least two times a month, because I know two times a month I need to be meeting people.

And some of these neighborhoods I’ve built relationships. They’re like, “Oh, you’re here. You still have buyers.” I’m like, “Yup, I’m back. I love what you’ve done to your plants. Your dog looks great.” So, I really, truly try to make a connection with the people when I am door knocking. It’s not just, “Hey, I’m Robin Mann. Do you know anyone who wants to buy/sell/invest in real estate?”

That’s not my spiel at all. My spiel is I knock on the door, I back up physically two or three steps from the door so I’m not all up in their space, I try to make-

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, I’ve heard that’s a very purposeful strategy to back up when you knock on a door.

Robin Mann:                 Yeah. Yeah, ’cause then you’re not so in their face. I back up and I try to notate the house that I’m walking up. Do they have pretty flowers, or do I love what they’ve done on the porch? If I hear a dog, I try to look at the dog when it comes to the door.

Instantly I try to make some form of connection. I might even lead with that. Usually, I’ll say, “Hey, I’m Robin Mann with Keller Williams,” but then I might go straight into, “Oh, my gosh, your dog is so cute. What is he,” and try to get them to be in conversation about something. About their porch. “Oh, I just saw that pillow set at Lowe’s and I was thinking about getting it. I love seeing it on this porch. What else are you gonna add to the porch to make that color pop?”

Just try to engage them in some conversation. Ask them about the dogwood tree or whatever. I just really, truly pick out something to connect.

Lori Ballen:                   So it’s just like you would in a listing appointment. First thing you’re gonna do when you go in is you’re gonna try to create some sort of rapport, find something in common for a picture, something on the wall, or the animals, or … So, same idea.

Robin Mann:                 Same exact idea. Then I usually laugh and say something like, “Okay, not here about the dogwood tree. I’m here because I’ve got buyers who wanna be in the neighborhood. They love the neighborhood school. Do you know anyone that’s looking to sell, or are you, yourself, looking to sell?”

They’ll say yes or they’ll say no. But then I try not to even just leave it there. If they say no, I try to find out can I get their e-mail so that I can do a CMA for them so that I can put ’em in my database and I can build that relationship.

Lori Ballen:                   Are you carrying an iPad, or how are you gathering info?

Robin Mann:                 Just my phone.

Lori Ballen:                   Oh, your phone? Okay.

Robin Mann:                 Used to carry a notebook and I don’t do that anymore. I just carry my phone and I have the notes on my phone and I just type ’em in.

Even let’s say I knock on a house and it goes nowhere. Maybe I’ve met the person. I will go back and make notes. I think that’s the key for door knocking is to make notes as you leave. One to make the connection, but let’s say you get nothing, but you’ve met the person.

Here’s a story on that. The woman answered the door. She had a big, giant bandage on her arm and I was like, “Oh, wow. That does not look happy.” She was like, “Yeah, I just had shoulder surgery.” I was like, “Wow.” So, we talked about that a little bit. She doesn’t wanna sell her house, she doesn’t want a CMA, so I got nothing. Nothing. I got nothing from her, but what I got was that I know she had shoulder surgery and I know her address, and I know I can look up her name on tax records.

I looked up her name, wrote her a get well card, threw my business card in there. “Would love to talk with you whenever you’re ready to sell your house.” That happened in the spring. Last spring, last April. She had no interest in selling, and then we looked at her house and sold it this fall.

Lori Ballen:                   Wow. ‘Cause you took the time to be personal and send her a card and show that you paid attention and cared.

Robin Mann:                 Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah. When you’re making all these notes, after you get back with your phone, are you transferring them to a database of some sort, or do you just continue to use your notes?

Robin Mann:                 Oh, yeah. No, I’m a beast on my database. I write the notes then I e-mail it to myself. From my notes section, I e-mail it to myself and then, once I get home, yeah, I enter ’em into the database.

Lori Ballen:                   What are you using for a database? What’s your system?

Robin Mann:                 I use Realty RealtyJuggler. RealtyJuggler is $99 a month. If you mention my name, then we both get a free month or something, but-

Lori Ballen:                   I used to use that database years ago.

Robin Mann:                 Yeah, I love that. It’s a great database, and for $99 a month, you can’t beat it. It’s a great resource.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, so you’re door knocking, and when you go to pick a neighborhood, do you set any goals like, “Today I’d like to knock on this many doors.” Do you ever track how many doors it actually takes to get to a contact or to an appointment, or do you just do a time span and say, “I’m gonna knock for two hours?” How do you measure that or set goals around that?

Robin Mann:                 Typically I do a time span, and I’ll even do a quick time span. I’m like, “I’ve got 15 minutes. I’m gonna knock as many doors as I can in 15 minutes.” But the bonus is, if you do one door and you get a lead and you spend the whole 15 minutes, that’s fine.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah. Well, I love that you said that, though, because in case anybody else didn’t hear that, that was a huge takeaway right there. If you’ve got 15 minutes … You don’t have to have two hours, or three hours, or 500 doors, or 100 doors. You’ve just got 15 minutes you’re gonna go door knock, that’s fantastic.

Robin Mann:                 Right, yeah, and that’s the way …

Well, I have a tracking system for myself that I have to do to keep myself accountable. I make myself contact 20 people a day whether it be via text, via Facebook, door knocking, whatever it is. I give myself 20 contacts a day. If I haven’t done that, if I’m at 15 and it’s 8:00 at night, then I’ve gotta get on something.

Now, there are days where I’ll only do 18 and so the next day I’ll do 22, but my goal is-

Lori Ballen:                   Are those new contacts, Robin, or are those … Can you touch base with a contact you already have?

Robin Mann:                 It can be both.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay.

Robin Mann:                 Every day I try to be intentional about putting new ones in there in some capacity, so at least five of the 20 are new. The other 15 might be database nurturing.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay. So you’re at least trying to get five new ones, but no matter what, you wanna talk to an average of 20 contacts a day.

Robin Mann:                 Correct.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, so you’ve got 15 minutes, you jump on and you go door knock or you have other avenues. Is there anything else when it comes to door knocking …

I noticed on your little pre-interview, here, we did that you got some advice that you would give people that are starting off with door knocking. In one of those, you said, “Be authentic and not salesy.” Which, it sounds like that’s what you’re saying by coming from contribution and saying, “I’ve got buyers,” that you’re not just, “Hey, I’m with Keller Williams. Do you wanna sell your house?”

Robin Mann:                 Exactly. Well, be authentic, but then also know your neighborhood. If there’s a gas station coming in, be versed on that. Or if there’s a school rezoning, be versed on that, because they’re gonna wanna discuss that.

I do pick random neighborhoods on occasion just because I’m like, “Well, I know that neighborhood’s hot. I’m gonna knock it,” but I’m really good at winging it and saying, “I’m not clear on that fully, but let me research it and get back to you.” I do that on occasion, but I feel better and more confident when it’s a neighborhood where I know that, when they come at me with, “What do you think about the gas station coming in? Is that gonna hurt our values,” if I’ve already researched that, it’s a bonus.

Lori Ballen:                   I think what you just said is another huge takeaway for actually any type of lead generation that we’re doing in real estate where we’re targeting something hyperlocal or geographic farming or specific neighborhood or area. The more we know the homes in the area, what is sold in the area, what new construction is coming in, what that big pit is on the side that they suddenly started digging, how that’s gonna affect your home values, that’s huge.

Robin Mann:                 Yes, that is huge. It is huge, and it gives you credibility. It gives you validity, so yeah, I never try to be salesy, but I try to be real. I think part of that is knowing what’s important to them. You need to know that that gas station’s coming so that you can get them more information on it.

But let’s say they ask you something, it’s way out of your zone, your wheelhouse. You’ve got nothing on it. Say, “You know what? I’m so glad you asked that. I’m gonna research that this afternoon and get you more information on it.” That’s your opportunity to get their e-mail, to get their contact information.

Lori Ballen:                   Right. Are you-

Robin Mann:                 You can usually [crosstalk 00:18:21].

Lori Ballen:                   Are you geographic farming any of those? Are you doing anything else besides door knocking, or are you backing it up with any kind of direct mail or sponsored events or anything yet?

Robin Mann:                 No. I’m so organic. I’m so organic. I do Facebook organically, I’ll do the ads, I do door knocking organically. Not that any of that is not organic. I’m cheap. I’m really cheap as well, but-

Lori Ballen:                   You lead with revenue, right? You’re leading with revenue.

Robin Mann:                 Exactly. [crosstalk 00:18:50] $14 million in sales last year, 56 transactions. I just haven’t done any investments on the money because I just wanna do it this way.

Lori Ballen:                   That’s a huge thing, too, because I think a lot of people are under a false impression that they have to start off in their business with some large amounts of money to go out there and buy business, and it’s actually the opposite.

We wanna be lead generating, we wanna be leading with revenue, without dollars and costs attached to them as much as possible, especially in the beginning, and then add in marketing and pay-per-click, or direct mail, or [crosstalk 00:19:33]-

Robin Mann:                 Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                   … because that’s … You’re gonna-

Robin Mann:                 That’s wonderful. I need you to teach me all that, ’cause I don’t know that yet.

Lori Ballen:                   That I can do.

Robin Mann:                 Yeah. No, but yeah, you don’t have to. A lot of people get freaked out. They’re like, “Oh, I have to have a pretty, shiny, glossy flyer to go door knock, or a door hanger, or a goody bag.”

No, you don’t. You need you-

Lori Ballen:                   No.

Robin Mann:                 … and a smile, and a willingness to connect with people, and a willingness to go walk and do the work.

I have another colleague down in Columbia, South Carolina. She’s a beast at door knocking. She takes her son and they make a day of it. It’s beautiful and fun. So, I got inspired by her, too, by doing the door knocking.

Lori Ballen:                   I would-

Robin Mann:                 It’s a great way to do this.

Lori Ballen:                   … think some sort of consistency … You’re at the point, now, where you’ve got a big business and you’re doing a lot of transactions, so you’ve got several sources, now, of lead gen. But I would think when somebody’s just getting started …

One of the pieces of advice I often give people when they’re just getting started is pick something and do it consistently, even if you’re not the best at it, even if you don’t know what you’re doing yet and you gotta fake it till you make it and figure it out on the fly. Get out there and do it religiously. Do it systematically and through a process and consistently, and don’t stop. I think that consistency wins every time, even over strategy.

Robin Mann:                 I think you’re right. I think it’s harder, yeah, and I do believe follow up and consistency, and just being smart.

There was a guy in our office. He had three spiral-bound notebooks loaded, just loaded with door-knocking notes, but he never did anything with ’em. He never followed up. He just wrote the stuff down. He just knocked on this door, met Betty, but he never went back and talked to Betty or sent her a note or anything.

Lori Ballen:                   That’s where the system comes in, right? That’s where the system and process comes in.

Robin Mann:                 Right. Exactly. He just wasted-

Lori Ballen:                   And it doesn’t stop … Go ahead.

Robin Mann:                 I said he just wasted his hours. He just wasted his hours. He doesn’t have any way to follow up, he’s not doing anything to further his business. I’m like, “I can’t believe you do that.” He’s got so much business sitting right there in front of him and he didn’t utilize it.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah. I see that all the time. I see that a lot with open houses. People sitting the open house, they put the signs up, but they only put four signs up instead of strategically mapping out the areas to put ’em in all the corners. Then people come through and they’re not talking to ’em and they’re not having ’em register or anything. They’re coming in the door and out the door without a big conversation.

Or worse, they’re collecting the data when people come in and then they’re not following up. They’re not doing anything after the fact because they feel like-

Robin Mann:                 Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                   … they’re going through the motions of sitting the open house.

And that is the consistency key, is being there, but then you wanna have a system and a process for what happens now. What do I want to happen when I-

Robin Mann:                 Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                   … door knock or have this open house, or do my pay-per-click marketing? How many leads do I hope to get and how many of those would I like to convert, and how am I gonna get them there?

That’s where your database comes in and a system and process around that. But, man, somebody can … I’m always telling people that they listen to every lead generation source and every shiny object. They wanna go buy this or go do this, and all of this works if you work it at a high level. If you just commit and be consistent, whether it’s-

Robin Mann:                 Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                   … Facebook, or open houses, or building websites, sitting mall kiosks, whatever it is. It all works.

I know a girl just killing it right now on the new Nextdoor social network. I know somebody else killing it on Instagram. I know somebody else that’s still killing ’em on for-sale-by-owners and expireds. Yeah, it’s just doing it at a high level.

That’s why I wanted to talk to you, because I think door knocking is one of those things still that there is a lot of fear around and there’s a lot of people that’ll say it doesn’t work anymore or that people don’t answer their doors. I think it’s nice to hear that this is still an avenue that works.

It doesn’t require a lot of money up front; it just requires time and the commitment and the process for how you’re gonna cultivate those relationships. Because if you hadn’t stopped and sent that woman a card who was in the cast, you wouldn’t have gotten that list.

Robin Mann:                 Right, exactly. And people are really nice if you approach them in the right way. Like I said, I’ve probably had two … If you said I’ve done 100 doors, which I’ve probably done a thousand doors. But no one has been mean.

Even the no-soliciting neighborhoods, a lot of people get intimidated by that. They’re like, “Well, it says no soliciting.” I’m not selling anything. I’m introducing myself and seeing if they need help. That’s what I said-

Lori Ballen:                   Well, that’s a good point.

Robin Mann:                 What’s that?

Lori Ballen:                   I said that’s a good point. I hadn’t thought about that. I would naturally avoid the no soliciting, but you’re not selling anything. You’re there to offer, to let them know you have buyers in the neighborhood. You’re not trying to sell ’em anything.

Have you found that there’s any better time to knock on doors than another?

Robin Mann:                 Yes. Well, really again, I’ve done it in the middle of a weekday afternoon and you get the stay-at-home moms, which is great, ’cause they always like to talk. But then weekends are great because everybody’s at home, they’re out in the yard.

I take full advantage of the guy in the yard cutting the grass. I don’t interrupt him while he’s cutting the grass, but I know he’s home. And most of the time, if you walk into his yard, he’s gonna say hi. So, yeah, weekends are great if it’s a nice weekend. Our weather here is fantastic, so I can door knock eight months out of the year and it not be uncomfortable weather.

I guess weekends are probably best, but then weekdays have been good, too. When I knocked on her door, it was a weekday afternoon. So-

Lori Ballen:                   So, essentially, any time that you’re willing to do it, go. Right?

Robin Mann:                 Yeah. Anytime you have, go, yes. Because either it’s gonna-

Lori Ballen:                   And-

Robin Mann:                 What’s that?

Lori Ballen:                   Sorry, there’s a lag over each other. When you knock on a door and somebody doesn’t answer, do you leave anything on their door?

Robin Mann:                 I do, I leave … Well, it depends. The majority of the time, yes, I will leave my business card if it’s a hot neighborhood. Yes, I will leave my business card.

Some people are like, “Oh, you’re just throwing it away,” but I have received several phone calls where they’re like, “Hey, I got home and your card was on my door. What do you need?” That gives me … I’ve got a phone number and I’ve got a person to talk to.

You don’t have to leave a card, but you can. If there’s something … It’s really about just being aware of your surroundings. If you see a big, blue baby ribbon on the door, well, there you go. You can look up their tax things, you’ve got their address, you know that they just had a baby. Send ’em a congratulations card. The card can say, “Was knocking on the neighborhood, saw the baby blue ribbon. Congratulations. If your house is too small now, call me.”

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Robin Mann:                 So, yeah. It’s just about being aware of your surroundings and utilizing the things you have there.

Lori Ballen:                   The last question, when I asked you about your biggest challenge in door knocking, you said, “Competing with a bunch of other real estate agents.” Did you mean specifically door knocking, or do you mean in real estate in general?

Robin Mann:                 Probably in real estate in general. As far as door knocking, we have a lot of real estate agents that do the farming, that do the postcards. The shiny, pretty postcards. Those are there and the magnets are on the fridge.

But what I have found is I’ve received this comment a significant amount of times where they say, “Wow, you took the time to knock. You’re the one out here doing the legwork. That’s impressive.” Something along those lines. So, they see you’re doing something different ’cause you’re out there doing the legwork.

But yeah, Charlotte, we have over 16,000 agents in the Charlotte Metro area, so the competition here is stiff. You have to do something to be different, or you’re gonna get swallowed up.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah. All right, so you acknowledge that there is competition, but there’s not as much doing what you’re doing, and that’s how you’re standing out, which is always the key. Find the opportunity, find the gap and fill it, because that’s how you’re gonna stand out.

Robin Mann:                 Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                   All right, Robin, well thank you so much for joining me today. I think that there’s a lot of takeaways, here, that people can learn. I think the main ones just get out there. Even if you’ve got 15 minutes, get out there and do it.

I love you’re adding 20 contacts a day to your database. Hopefully, five of them are new; that’s fantastic.

Robin Mann:                 Thank you.

Lori Ballen:                   And just being consistent and authentic. So, anybody, if you’ve got referrals for Charlotte, North Carolina, Fort Mill, South Carolina, keep Robin Mann in mind. She’s with Keller Williams and would love your referrals.

Any leaving words for ’em, Robin?

Robin Mann:                 Just go make it enjoyable. You don’t have to put on a fancy suit. Just go be you and go be enjoyable. I would say that in anything you’re doing. If a fancy suit is you, great, you go do that, too. But I think for me, I think any success I’ve had is because of authenticity because that’s what I hear from my clients. “We liked you because you’re real,” or, “We liked you because you weren’t stuffy.”

So, yeah, just go be yourself. I love my job and I say that a lot. One, to convince myself, but one, because I do love my job. So-

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah.

Robin Mann:                 … just love it and go do it, and don’t be afraid. People are actually nicer than we give ’em credit for I would say 90% of the time.

Lori Ballen:                   That’s fantastic. That’s great advice. Thank you so much. I respect your time and I’ll let you get back to your snow melts out there.


16 Million in Real Estate, Year 3, through Open House Real Estate Leads!

Hello everybody, it is Lori Ballen here with Ballen Vegas, your Las Vegas and Henderson real estate team, and Ballen Brands, your digital marketing company, and real estate websites. I’m excited today to be here with Dan Kenney from Keller Williams in Chicago, and today we’re going to really hit hard on generating real estate leads through open houses.

😲 Dan recently completed his third full year closing 39 transactions with a volume of over 16 million.

I thought to be a real estate agent you got your license, you joined a company, they gave you a desk and then people walked through the door looking to buy or sell real estate and you simply said hi, how may I help you? And I quickly found out that there was this other thing involved called lead generation

[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://youtu.be/hMPY9NLnCf8″ width=”800″ showinfo=”no” rel=”no” https=”yes”]

About Dan

Contact Information
Email | 708-629-6452
Keller Williams Preferred Realty
16101 108th Ave, 2nd Floor
Orland Park, IL 60467

Prior to his career in real estate Dan spent over 20 years in the restaurant industry as a server, manager, trainer and customer service specialist. He worked in fine dining restaurants all over the country including several years at a top steakhouse just off the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago.

He also spent several years working as a professional stage actor performing on stages around the country and across the globe including performances in Stratford, England, and Japan.

In Chicago, Dan performed in productions at the Goodman Theatre, Victoria Gardens Theater, Lookingglass Theatre and numerous productions with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Now I tell you all that because now you’re thinking hmmm, well why real estate?

Well, we’re going to let Dan tell you a little bit about that, but Dan recently completed his third full year, yes that’s right just three years as a licensed real estate agent closing 39 transactions with a volume of over 16 million.

He is now forming the Dan Kenney Group, has a full-time administrative assistant and is currently interviewing for other full-time admin and a buyer’s agent. The majority of Dan’s business comes from geographic farming and open houses, which we’re going to talk about today and he regularly teaches a class on high-level open houses based on the 7th level open house system from the book “Shift.”

Dan serves in the area suburbs of Chicago, Homer Glen, Lockport, Lemont, New Lenox and Orland Park.



Thank you, Lori, it’s a huge pleasure and privilege to be on your show. I actually first encountered you three years ago at my very first family reunion and you were teaching a breakout session on probably SEO or social media.

However, at the beginning of that session, you started talking about micro-farming and going hyper-local and I had just moved to a beautiful area in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago and I decided when I got back from that family reunion I was going to plant the seeds for a geographic farm using your techniques.

So you were my inspiration to start that and so it’s a great pleasure to talk to you and tell you how that’s turned out three years later.

Yeah, I’m sure that I was doing an SEO class or something and absolutely, 100% I believe that we can take hyper-local geographic farming strategies and apply those to our online efforts and combine them with physical efforts.

Maybe just talk to us about your steps into real estate and then where you’re learning some of your strategies besides my little inspiration there. And then let’s break it down for the listeners that actually want to be like you. So tell us why you got into real estate.


Why Real Estate?

MEME that Dan Uses in his Open House Marketing

I first got into real estate when we moved from the city to the suburbs because at the time my wife was pregnant with our first child and I didn’t want to raise our children in the city and I was also working very late hours in restaurants, which wasn’t very conducive to a family life.

And it was actually the move itself that kind of inspired me to get into real estate because I had one broker in the city who sold my condo and a different broker in the suburbs who helped us purchase our home and the experiences were night and day in terms of quality of the experience.

The agent in the city who helped me sell my condo was on top of his game, he was amazing, we had multiple offers within the first two weeks. I really felt well taken care of. In retrospect, I hired him because of his farming strategy.

I used to get a postcard from him every month, which I would throw away of course until I was ready to sell. And then I was like, hey where’s that guy’s postcard? And so ironically he had the farming strategy that I’m now doing.

Then we had a very different agent in the suburbs who wasn’t as on top of her game and I basically said you know what, I could do better than this and so I immediately got my license and joined KW. I didn’t interview with any other company, I heard they had the best training and I’m a very learning, training based person and dove right in. Have not looked back.

So that’s kind of how I made the transition into it and what happened at the beginning, so I started the farming as I told you being inspired from you.

However, that wasn’t going to get me immediate business, as you pointed out farming is a get rich slow strategy. It takes a while before you start seeing the fruits of that harvest. So I needed immediate business and I was in my first session of Ignite and that particular session happened to be on open houses.

And at the time I also found out in that first session of Ignite that I was suffering under a bit of delusion of what it meant to be a real estate agent. I thought to be a real estate agent you got your license, you joined a company, they gave you a desk and then people walked through the door looking to buy or sell real estate and you simply said hi, how may I help you?

And I quickly found out in that first Ignite that there was this other thing involved called lead generation and I started freaking out because I didn’t sign up to be on the phone all day, it was not something I wanted to do.

However, what I realized in this class was that open houses actually are a form of lead generation and they are actually kind of like that delusion where people are walking through the door looking to buy or sell real estate and you simply say, hi how may I help you?

So I immediately started doing open houses every week and for the first two years, all my business came from open houses. That was my only source of lead generation for the first two years in the business.

Lori Ballen:                   Wow, you know what I love, I love a lot of the things that you just said and I’m going to pull out all those nuggets when I do the transcript because it’s so true that people do get this disillusion of I’m going to become a real estate agent and the business is just going to be there.

And it’s just absolutely not true, you have to pick a lead generation strategy or two and give it everything you got. You have to model other successful people and you have to be so disciplined and so focused and not quit five minutes before the miracle happens. So all of that is 100% spot on.

So you’re saying that the geographic farm was going to be a long game and you knew that so you specifically went after open houses. In your first two years all your money came off of open houses, which is phenomenal, and something I would highly recommend to a new agent because, or an experienced agent who isn’t paying their bills, you know there are a lot of experienced agents could learn from this as well.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to do open houses, so this is something you can get really focused on, really sink your teeth into, create a great plan around and not have to put out a lot of money.

So tell me, you’re getting started in open houses, how did you know what the heck to do?


The Training

Meme used by Kenney in Open House Promotions

Sure. So, I basically did when I first started what I learned in that class in Ignite. And they used to have an entire session in Ignite on open houses, that’s no longer the case, but it was when I first started.

And what they looked at was something called the 7th level open house, which is from the book “Shift” by Gary Keller, I’m sure you’ve read it.

And there is a chart in there that shows the 7th level marketing system for an open house. And most realtors put a sign in the yard, put a balloon on the sign and that’s about where their preparation for the open house stops. That’s about all they do.

The 7th level system you’re starting a week in advance. You’re doing call-arounds on the house, you’re doing social media marketing for the open house. You’re doing mailings for the open house, you’re doing door knocking for the open house.

[su_note note_color=”#fbfabf” radius=”4″]Don’t be a secret agent. I kind of connected the two and I said, “Well, I don’t want to be a secret agent so maybe I’ll put my name on the side of my car. Why would I hide myself on the largest social media platform that is out there?”[/su_note]

The whole goal is just to get people to the open house and then you can convert them into clients.

And so I typically, when I first started out my first open house I had 12 people through, which I thought was horrible. My lender told me it was one of the best open houses she had ever been to. And now I average between 20 to 40 people for every open house and I typically walk out with my appointments set for the week.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay,  I’ve got an open house, I’m an agent, I’ve got an open house, it’s either my listing or maybe it’s somebody else’s listing that they have offered to let me go ahead and sit their open house. So first thing is, are you strategically planning did you say a week in advance?

Dan Kenney:                 At least, yes, you want to start at least in advance a week.

Lori Ballen:                   What’s your typical practice, how do you know like when you’re sitting down to pick open houses, first of all how do you pick them? Are they your listings or are they somebody else’s?


The Marketing Plan

When I first started obviously I didn’t have any listings so they had to be other agent’s listings. Now I do them with all of my listings and it actually starts earlier than a week before. It now starts at the listing appointment.

I set the expectation at the listing appointment that open houses are a huge part of my strategy to get their homes sold, and as soon as we sign those listing papers I pull out my calendar and I say when are we going to do the first open house?

So I’d start well in advance of the open house and get it on the calendar. And then it begins at least a week before we get it in the MLS so that it aggregates out to all the other websites as well.

Lori Ballen:                   How many open houses are you holding a week?

Dan Kenney:                 At least one per week.

Lori Ballen:                   Do you have a day of the week that you find is best for you for open houses?

Dan Kenney:                 I prefer Sundays only because Saturdays are the days that usually people, it’s the end of the week and they’re working around the house or they’re hanging out at home, working in the yard.

Actually, a great day for door knocking is Saturdays because people are usually home hanging out. Sundays are the days I have found that people get dressed up and go to church and go out to breakfast and go visit family. So they’re already out and about.

However, I’ve done Saturdays and Sundays, Sundays attendance does go down during football season around here though unfortunately.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, so I’m assuming Sunday afternoons. Are you doing like an 11:00 to 3:00 or something?

Dan Kenney:                 Usually 1:00 to 4:00.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, now next you set the date and you post this online. So are you first going into the MLS and setting an open house? And then what other online websites are you going to post your open houses?

Dan Kenney:                 Sure, so from the MLS it’s going to filter out to all the big ones, Zillow, Trulia and Redfin and all those. We also do a Craigslist posting. We also do a Facebook post that we’re going to boost or a Facebook ad and we’re going to boost that in the zip code around, not only the zip code where the open house is but the zip codes around it because we have people moving from other zip codes into our zip code.

We also do local buy/sell/trade Facebook groups in all the surrounding suburbs, I’m members of those and I always post the open house posts in there as well.

Lori Ballen:                   Great are you on, do you guys have Nextdoor in your area?

Dan Kenney:                 I think we do and that’s something I’m not using, is that something that’s been helpful?

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, I just really started, I’m not doing advertising in there just yet because I wanted to kind of explore what the dialogue’s like, it’s a social network very much like Facebook, but it’s all specifically geared around neighborhoods.

And so the only way you can get into a Nextdoor group is to have an address registered that’s in that group, so it’s fantastic for like geographic farming if you live in that area. Or for an open house if you live in that area.

So you’re not just going to be able to go blast everywhere, but there is advertising, so I’m going to actually do a test on the advertising because you can advertise in a different group. And I’ll do some training and do some reports back on that, but I’m thinking for open houses this can be a pretty powerful platform.

I’ve just started talking to a couple people that are doing Nextdoor at a pretty high level and they’re swearing by it and being that it’s so local, so hyper-local I would think real estate could really benefit if we did it strategically not spammy, you know?

Dan Kenney:                 Absolutely, absolutely.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, so your Facebook ads, your Craigslist ads and all that, are you able to track when your people coming in the door? When they come in the door are they signing in anywhere or using an iPad or what is your process once they get there?

Let’s start with, what’s your process finding out how they heard about you?

Dan Kenney:                 Sure, I usually ask them how they heard about us and I used to do a sign in sheet and I no longer do that. Simply because, well I do it as a formality and it’s really because I was finding the information people was putting down was not correct or they wrote it illegibly so there’s no way I could figure out what it was.

So what I do is have them sign in and then I ask them a question that I learned from Chris Suarez, do you know Chris?

Lori Ballen:                   Oh yes, absolutely. I know Chris Suarez.

Dan Kenney:                 Yeah, so I learned a lot from him about open houses and he has this wonderful question that you ask as soon as people walk in the door, which is,

are you out shopping for a home today or do you happen to live in the area?

And it’s a really simple question and they’re either going to say I’m out shopping for a home today, great you know you’re working with a buyer. Or they say no, I happen to live in the neighborhood, great you know you’re working with a seller.

At that point I basically kind of let them go, it’s very no pressure, I let them kind of walk around the open house. I tell them there’s food here, we have music and I’ll check in with you later. And then when I check in with them later,  I have a very natural non-pressure conversation with them that eventually leads to them seeking something of value from me.

Either a market analysis on their home or other properties that are for sale in the area. At that point is when I usually ask for their correct contact information and that’s usually when they give me the contact information correctly.

Lori Ballen:                   I have this little thing in my head going back and forth, these little voices and one is saying that’s so good and I love Chris’s question and Chris is the king of open houses, amazing. I love all that, I love your non-pressure approach.

My lead generation side, the marketing side of me is going oh my gosh, you’re not capturing their info, so you’ve got some people probably walking out the door that could be potentials, there’s no way you can talk to everybody in time.

I know that you get bogus information, it’s a numbers game. Same with what I do its web leads, we’re going to get Fred Flintstone and Donald Duck, we got to count on the ones that do end up giving us good information.

Have you done a giveaway, gift basket, gas cards or anything like that so at least, and then put a little mark on there that says how did you hear about us so you can track whether Cragistlist is working or if Facebook is working?

Dan Kenney:                 I have done a giveaway and you are correct, you are going to get more complete contact information that way for sure. I do still have them sign in and I do check those numbers, my experience has been though that the ones that I actually make the contact with there is when I get the highest correct contact info and usually book an appointment on the spot.

Lori Ballen: Well, your easiest to convert leads are always going to be the people that raise their hand in some fashion, it’s just like with web leads, it’s the people that actually call that we have the highest percentage of actually converting because they’re saying hey, I want to talk to you.

But yet I still want to get the info on the ones that didn’t raise their hand at that moment because they’re probably still potentials later on.

And my experience with open houses, even though it was forever ago, my absolute best ever was when we gave away a gorgeous looking gift basket that title or somebody would donate or a home stager or plumbers or the cleaners of the house or whatever would donate with their branding on it and whatnot, so it didn’t cost me anything.

Or a gas card and then the key for me was even if I don’t talk to any of these people, I want to know how they heard about us.

That was my goal back then, their phone number could be bad, their email could be bad, but I need to know how that person heard about us so I know what marketing I’m doing is working bringing in.

So that’s my marketing director hat on more than my salesperson hat on because I just wanted that info. So just it’s curious because when you wonder oh my gosh, well if it’s coming from Facebook, then I can actually check my reach and if I didn’t spend enough to reach everybody, but I know my highest traffic is coming from Facebook, I can throw a few more bucks at those Facebook ads and get another five people through the door.

Dan Kenney:                 Absolutely, absolutely and I do ask where everybody heard about us and to be honest, the majority is Facebook.

And that’s been the biggest impact really on my open houses, getting people there. And also on my farming strategy because something I do in my farm, I’ve actually grown quite a following on my Facebook page in this little area that I live in and people whenever I ask them how they heard about me, they’re all like oh, your on my Facebook feed for some reason, you always show up in my Facebook.

And if someone in my farm likes or comments on one of my posts, I immediately look up their address and I immediately go knock on their door that day or the next day. And I say hey, I’m Dan Kenney I live in the area-

Lori Ballen:                   How do you know they’re already in your farm when they like it?

Dan Kenney:                 Well I’ll look at what town they live in if I can find that information and then I’ll look them up in the tax records.

Lori Ballen:                   No, but you said when somebody likes your post and they’re in your farm then you look them up, but how do you know, are you looking up everybody who likes your post to see if they’re in your farm?

Dan Kenney:                 Absolutely.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, gotcha.

Dan Kenney:                 Yeah I go door knocking and say hey, my name is Dan Kenney I’m a realtor, I live in the area and they’re like I know, I’ve seen you on Facebook. And I’m like really, awesome, and then we start a conversation from there and it’s a great way to get a door knock that is not a weird stranger on your front door.


Facebook Ad

Lori Ballen:                  It sounds like you’ve got this incredible strategy where it’s almost a full circle where your lead generating on Facebook, but then you’re capturing and cultivating through Facebook and then you’re going out on door-knocking with the Facebook branding behind you, which is marketing 101 when it comes to radio and television and Facebook is the same thing.

So you’re creating this brand awareness and it’s helping you in this full circle and then including your open houses. So you’re saying that you are asking people how they heard about you and you’re hearing the majority of them saying Facebook. So on that note, what is in your Facebook ad for your open house?

Dan Kenney:                 Sure, it is typically the best photo of the house, doesn’t necessarily have to be the front of the house, it could be that the kitchen is the best photo or they got a killer bathroom. I might do a couple different photos just to tease it and then it’s basically just open house this Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00, for more info and I usually have a link where they can find out more info on the property. And I also have the learn more button where they can go get a home value estimate and I capture leads that way as well.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay. So are you sending them to just your general real estate website that has that IDX page property info or do you have something special you’re sending them to?

Dan Kenney:                 So I’ve been doing the SmartZip thing for my farm and so I send them to that home pricing website.


The Reception

Lori Ballen:                 Okay, so now your people come into your open house and you welcome them, you ask them the key question there and then you let them walk around. You’ve got snacks out and I heard you say music, do you have something you play?

Dan Kenney:                 Sure so the way I look at it and this is what I talk about in my class all the time and why this is so important. I think there are two different approaches to an open house, you can either be what I call the furniture store approach or, and you’ve been to probably a furniture store before and you know what happens the second you walk in the door, which is your attacked by every sales person in there and then they follow you around the whole time. It never really allows you to let down your guard and relax.

Or you can take what I like to call the cocktail party approach and that is to create the atmosphere of this is a cocktail party in your home for your closest family and friends and then you treat everybody who comes through the door like that.

And I can tell you that the connections you make are so much more genuine, they let their guard down much sooner and yes I have music playing, I usually have some drinks and nothing fancy, maybe cookies and water, nothing crazy because they’re not there for the food. It’s just more of a something for them to do while we very casually chat and get to know one another.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, great. And then out where your snacks and water are and stuff, do you have any printed materials out?

Dan Kenney:                 Yes, I usually have a brochure on the house or a flyer or something and then I usually have information about my business. Although interestingly, something I learned from Chris that he has done recently is he doesn’t have any printed material, he just carries around an iPad and shows them on his iPad and then says well, would you like me to send this to you? Great, what’s your email and your cell phone number? And then that’s how he’s capturing their contact info.

Lori Ballen:                   What does that conversation look like? So you’ve got somebody that walks around the home and they’re looking very interested and they spend quite a bit of time and then they’re starting to walk by you towards the front door to leave.

Dan Kenney:              Some people don’t want to talk to you and some people just pop in and they get out as fast as they can. Most people I find, I’ll circle back to them before they’re heading for the door and just check in and say how you doing, how’d you hear about us, what do you think of the house and you know, something very casual.

[su_note note_color=”#fbfabf” radius=”4″]I don’t talk much about the house either, I mostly talk about them, so like, do you live in the area? How long have you lived here, what do you like about living here? If you were going to move somewhere where would you move to? You know, things like that.[/su_note]

Lori Ballen:                   I see so you’re keeping it more cocktail party like and you’re just kind of bringing up, you don’t have a set script, but you’re bringing up a little bit of general conversation about them like do you live in the area and then you’re looking to see if they might bring up the conversation around buying a house rather than you’re not just coming right out and saying oh, are you looking to buy a house?

Dan Kenney:                 Precisely, I mean obviously they’re looking to buy a house because they’re at an open house. So I already know they’re either a buyer or a seller or both.

And so, I look at it more like dating, like people often ask me do I ask them if they’re working with an agent and I say well, if you were out at a bar or a club and you wanted to pick someone up as a date, would you go up to them and say hey, are you dating anybody?

You wouldn’t start the conversation that way. You know, you would find out that information because it’s very important information to find out because we don’t want to solicit another agent’s business. However, you’re going to go about it in a much more casual way, you’re going to get them to warm up to you.

Once they’ve warmed up to you, I usually find that in the open house situation, then they usually ask me well do you have any other properties or would you be willing to stop by and look at my house sometime?

I’m like great, what are you doing today after the open house, I’ve got nothing planned. I always leave time open after the open house because I have gone right into listing appointments right from the open house.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah and how about showing homes? Have you ever gone and shown homes in the area right after?

Dan Kenney:                 Occasionally, I gave someone my app once and they took it and drove around the neighborhood and they found a house and then came back and said can you go show me this house? So, it’s a little dicey you want to make sure they’re pre-qualified and everything, but I have done that occasionally.


Open House Signs

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah. How many open house signs are you putting out?

Dan Kenney:                 I always tell people as many as it takes, so I look at a Google map of the neighborhood and I really make it like breadcrumbs to get to that open house.

And I do at least four major intersections around the neighborhood so four large branded, directional signs that I get out in advance so that people are seeing my name and my phone number three to four days in advance of the open house.

And then smaller directional signs through the neighborhood that are leading people directly to the open house so that it would be impossible for them to not find me.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay I love that you said that very pointedly, four key intersections with branded open house signs, which is so, so important especially if you’re repeating in your geographic farm, created that brand awareness and having signs that are consistent with your brand that people see over and over and over and over again. That’s key.

So about how many signs then?

Dan Kenney:                 It depends on the intersection and the layout, usually at least one for the four major intersections and it’s really a simple sign. It’s just my name, my phone number and a rider that says open house and a rider with an arrow pointing the direction of where it is.

And it’ll probably say Sunday 1:00 to 4:00. And what that does is people going to work or going to school get used to seeing that for a couple days in a row and go oh, there’s going to be an open house over there. And then the other thing in terms of brand awareness as you were talking about, every week the number of signs I have in my village goes up, doubles.

And so every week it looks like I’ve got so many more, such a greater presence in that area because I put out all these open house signs.

Lori Ballen:                   So about how many open house signs per open house?

Dan Kenney:                 At least 8, probably with often times 10 to 12.

Lori Ballen:                   Okay, yeah, I think we used to put up about a dozen, but depending on your areas and how many opportunities you have to put up those signs. And then when do those go up?

Dan Kenney:                 Yeah. So, the rider on the sign in the yard for the open house sign that we’re going to put in the yard of the house itself goes up a week in advance.

Lori Ballen:                   You’re putting an open house sign with the information with your yard sign right there on the house?

Dan Kenney:                 Absolutely, we want the neighbors to know.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah, that makes sense. And then when are your directional signs going up?

Dan Kenney:                 Usually three to four days beforehand, the major intersection ones.

Lori Ballen:                   Three to four days, but what if, oh but they say the date and time on them is why you can do that?

Dan Kenney:                 Yeah they say Sunday 1:00 to 4:00.

Lori Ballen:                   That’s really smart, that has got to be helping your attendance.

Dan Kenney:                 Yeah, so what happens is that people are going to work or to the grocery store every day and either subliminally or whatever they’re seeing, oh there’s an open house there Sunday.

Oh, there’s an open house over there Sunday. Oh there’s an open house over there Sunday. And Sunday rolls around and they’re like what do you want to do today, I don’t know I think there’s an open house over there somewhere, let’s go check it out.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah that’s smart. Now, are you paying somebody to put up your signs or are you doing it yourself?

Dan Kenney:                 Right now I’m still doing it myself. However, I am interviewing for a buyer’s agent as you said at the beginning who will hopefully be doing that for me and because I live in my farm, I literally can do it on my way home from work. And Sunday morning when I put out my balloons, I literally get up and I roll out of bed, I grab my coffee, I go get some balloons and then put them out. I’m home in 10 minutes. That’s the nice thing about farming where you live.

Lori Ballen:                   Are you putting balloons on every sign?

Dan Kenney:                 Strictly the major street directional at the major intersections and then on the house itself. It’s just sort of that added, I use those foil ones that shine in the sunlight, it’s that added, I call it cat advertising because you know it shines, it’s shaky and it gets people’s attention.

Lori Ballen:                   Yeah. How much are you spending on average when you do an open house? How much is it costing you to do your ads, your balloons, your refreshments?

Dan Kenney:                 Sure, probably $50 total between refreshments and the boosted posts and sometimes I’ll boost it a little bit more. I’m trying to get better with my Facebook ads as opposed to just my boosted posts because I know there’s more value in them, I just haven’t delved into them yet enough.

Lori Ballen:                   I’ll have to add a training video on doing Facebook ads for open houses, there are so many great ways we can do that. All right, but it sounds like you’re doing great and you’re getting good traffic.

You’re getting a lot of people to your door and you’re closing a lot of houses from open houses.

So Dan before we have to get off here because we’ve gone a little bit over time. Do you think this is a scalable lead generation activity? Either farming or the open houses?

Dan Kenney:                 Yes, farming without a doubt because obviously you just increase the size of your farm and that’s what I did, I started very small and it’s been just growing every year. I just let it grow out a little bit more and almost organically.

With open houses probably as well if you’re doing more open houses per week. I know Chris’s team, everybody on his team is required to do 50 a year. So they’re doing open houses every day of the week.

So, what advice would you give to anybody who wants to follow your footsteps in the open houses?

Dan Kenney:                 Sure, I would say follow the system. It’s all about the leading up to it. Look at “Shift,” look at that 7th level open house marketing system. And really that week leading up to the open house, that’s your job.

Every phone call you make, every email you send, every text you send, every Facebook post you do, mention the open house. And for a brand new agent, find a vacant house, go there with your laptop and your hotspot every day and make that your office.

Lori Ballen:                   All right Dan, that was very, very informational, I really appreciate you being patient and helping me break that down for people that they can learn from the best. You learned from Chris and people can learn from you and that’s how this whole chain works especially at Keller Williams with the training that we have here.

Dan Kenney:                 Thank you, it was a pleasure Lori.

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How to close 5 Million Dollars in One Year from Realtor.com Real Estate Leads

Reed Wilson in Virginia closed 76 homes last year after only a short career in real estate (5 years). His 3 lead sources: Realtor.com, Google AdWords (serviced by my company Ballen Brands), and Referrals.  

In this audio interview, we talk to Reed Wilson from Richmond Virginia about how he closed 26 transactions last year from Realtor.com, his ROI, and his conversion methods. Reed doubled his investment and didn’t work with any of the clients himself. He simply bought the leads and put the conversion process in place.

The key is to get on top of that lead immediately. Those leads are looking for instant responses.Listen to this Podcast to discover how to Rank Like A Boss with Realtor.com Leads.  

The Wilson Group

 9025 Forest Hill Avenue Suite 2-A
 Richmond, VA 23235

Realtor.com Leads

  1. Purchase a zip code or leads from a zip code
  2. Once you have a lead, Call within 2 minutes
  3. Have an automatic text cultivation system in place (like AutoPilot ISA)
  4. Convert and Close!

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[su_box title=”Is it Time for a New Real Estate Website?” style=”bubbles” box_color=”#FF9966″ title_color=”#000000″]Ballen Brands offers a special BREW of real estate agent websites. They are designed by Lori Ballen, a top real estate agent, digital marketing strategist and SEO who generates leads from the web. Built with an SEO focused strategy, this lead generation system offers a robust IDX, cornerstone content, drag and drop home page featuring reviews, community pages, calls to action, pricing tables, featured listings, top blog posts and more, custom templates for frequently used blog posts and pages, on the dash analytics and more. 702.917.0755. http://ballenbrands.com/brew [/su_box]

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10 Steps to Success

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All right everybody, I’m Lori Ballen in Las Vegas with Ballenvegas.com, your Las Vegas, and Henderson real estate team as well Ballen Brands, your digital marketing company where we “make you click”.

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing a good friend and a client of mine, Reed Wilson, from The Wilson Group in Richmond, Virginia.

We’re going to let Reed talk to us today about his short journey in real estate. He’s only been in for five years and closed 76 homes last year in 2017, which is pretty amazing. He’s going to talk to us today about his lead sources.

Reed, welcome. Are you there?

Reed Wilson:                         Honestly, my background was in retail management. I was there, in retail management, for 12 years. Just got burned out of living in malls and not being able to enjoy any kind of life whatsoever outside of work and I knew that’s just not the way I wanted. I left retail after 12 years, took six months off because I’d been in sales my entire life, decided to give real estate a shot. I got into it basically when the market was tank it in. I got into it and here we are. Still loving it.

Lori Ballen:                             Fantastic. When I asked you about your real estate lead sources, and this is something I actually find typically amongst real estate agents, is that most of us have two or three lead sources that we’re generating most of our real estate business from. I mean, we all have some auxiliary and some additional but usually, when I ask, there are a few key ones. When you broke down your numbers, you discovered that … Well, you already knew, but Realtor.com leads that you actually buy are your number one source and your number two source is your Pay Per Click that you actually hired my marketing company, Ballen Brands, to do for you. Then, your third is referrals. Is that correct?

Reed Wilson:                         That is correct. Yes.

Lori Ballen:                             Let’s dive into this a little bit. Primarily, you’re getting your business like I do, which is through the internet. You’ve got some key strategies and conversion methods for working these web leads, which we’ll talk about in a little bit that I know everybody, will find very helpful, but let’s talk about Realtor.com. How did you get started with Realtor.com?

Reed Wilson:                         A great question. About two years ago, honestly, I was never one to pay for leads. I was always about generating a referral, but then I knew that I needed to do something to take my business to another level to keep building upon the momentum, so I reached out; I looked into Realtor.com and I just started in very small to get them and then convert them.

At the same time, I was also looking to build a team, so it was actually just a perfect match that I was able to hire a team member to serve as a buyer’s agent while I did the lead generation. That’s how it started and built upon the success we had last year with them.

Lori Ballen:                             How many years, did you say, you’ve been doing the paid leads with Realtor.com?

Reed Wilson:                         About a year and a half. I started in middle of 2016.

Lori Ballen:                             Wow, and you …

Reed Wilson:                         2017 was the first full year that I had for 12 months.

Lori Ballen:                             And you closed $5 million worth of real estate sales last year after just getting started with them.

Reed Wilson:                         That is correct. Yes.

Lori Ballen:                             Tell me how this works. I know that … I actually … I’ve always done well with Realtor.com but I didn’t pay for it. My previous brokerage, they actually bought a Realtor.com package for us and somehow we weren’t buying zip codes but we had the ability to enhance our listings and all of that. I also found, at that time, that my highest converting web leads, actually, were Realtor.com but I’ve never paid for any of it, so tell me how that works. You’re buying zip codes, is that right?

Reed Wilson:                         Correct. Yes. What we did was we looked at the areas that we wanted to work, in or around our office, around price points that we were excited about. We really specialize in first time homebuyers, so we focused on zip codes that would be in those areas.

The way it works on the side is every zip code is broken into three or four different parts or shares, as Realtor.com calls them, so I buy into a share. Typically, they’re about 12 month contracts so you have to be prepared to commit it and I don’t like a contract, so it took a lot for me to do that.

Then, what happens is one part of a share or a zip code can actually be shared amongst whoever is paying for that zip code, so it could potentially be in-between four different realtors or brokers that are paying for one zip code or one share of a zip code. You can actually pay for one share or you can pay for the full four to have total control of that zip code.

Lori Ballen:                             Great. You have a 12 month contract, there is three or four shares per zip code and multiple agents could share a single share. How does that cost work out?

Reed Wilson:                         The Realtor.com account reps, they already have, based on their market, how many leads come from one specific zip code, and then they’ll divide that by three or four, however many shares they want to have. Then, depending on how many you want to have, will break that. For example, of a zip code, and I’m just speaking generically, let’s say a zip code costs $1,000 for the full share a month, but I don’t want to participate on the full share. If I want a quarter of that share, well, then maybe I will pay $250 a month but also because I’m paying less I’m also going to get less leads. If that zip code guarantees you 60 leads a years, well, I may be getting down to 10 to 15 because I’m reducing my cost as opposed to the full share. But that’s a great way to start and that’s exactly what I did. When I started, I bought into one share.

Lori Ballen:                             When you first started, you bought into one share … We got cut off there. Then, go ahead.

Reed Wilson:                         Then, my first share that I bought, I started off paying 60 bucks a month, and I think I was guaranteed 15 leads over the course of six months to a year, but I started very small with one share and one zip code.

Lori Ballen:                             Then, you’re working your way up. I didn’t ask you so I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I know that you’ve got, in here, the web leads typically convert at 1% to 2%, which I agree with. If they’re cold web leads, they’ve never heard of you before. We’re not talking about cultivating, sphere of influence on Facebook or anything like that. Cold leads, just Joshmo, you’re going to convert half a percent to a couple percent. I find it hard to find people that are even doing 3% and 4%, they can prove multiple sources of cold leads. Per source, sometimes they will covert higher. Do you know how much … How your Realtor.com leads are converting or you just know they’re the lion share of your closings?

Reed Wilson:                         Well, based on the … We did 26 transactions closed from Realtor.com. We, over the course of 2017, we received 558 total leads, so that, I think, when we figured it out that’s about 4.6% rate of the closed transactions versus the number of leads that we got.

Lori Ballen:                             4.6% … Hold on, let me just do the math here, too. You had a … That’s a 4.6%, exactly right, closing ratio from Realtor.com. That’s what I was saying that web leads can convert at a higher rate per source if you’re tracking that source. When we take an aggregate of everything: Craigslist, Facebook, Zillow, Classifiedads.com and all of those, that’s when we start off; that’s when we have lower losing percentages. I love that. That’s fantastic. Now, have you found, or do you have the ability to buy more space in your area?

Reed Wilson:                         Absolutely, and that’s how … When I say, in the very beginning, when I started with a $60 a month share, within 90 days, we had our first closing because I don’t like a monthly payment, so what I did was took the commission for the team back into and paid that contract off, bought into another zip code with another share and we just constantly keep reinvesting back into our large demographic of our area. Right now, current, I am participating in about 14 different zip codes and shares.

Lori Ballen:                             Wow, that’s amazing. Let me ask you, have you done the math on your cost per lead or your cost per sale actually? When you close one of these 26 houses, what is your average price range on those 26 houses?

Reed Wilson:                         Our average sales price is about $245.

Lori Ballen:                             Have you figured out how much you’re spending, then, overall? What your cost per sale is to what was your cost to acquire that, then, through Realtor.com? Have you done the math on that?

Reed Wilson:                         Not to that detail yet. Basically, what we’ve been doing, we’ve just been tracking what we spend versus the team income. Not to that detail just yet.

Lori Ballen:                             Do you know, for all of 2017, what the total spend was to Realtor.com about?

Reed Wilson:                         Yes. It was $15,338.

Lori Ballen:                             Perfect. Now we’re getting somewhere. Let’s just say your average house was $245 … Now, everybody listening, I really struggle with math. This is hilarious but it’s a true story. I’m very authentic, you’ll find with me. I have to have my calculators and I have to do it very purposefully and strategically, so I tend not to do math live so this is very scary, but let’s just take a look here.

All right, so $245,000. Let’s say $245,000 … I’ll tell you what I’m doing, hold on a second. Commission is never standing. Anybody that’s listening, especially the new agents, there’s never a standard commission, there’s never an average commission, we’re not even allowed to talk about average commissions.

Let’s just say, though, for pulling a number out of the hat here, Reed, that your team is bringing in $7,000 a transaction. We’re just try to … A rough estimate here. If that’s $7,000 times 26 houses would be $182,000 in team income. Does that make sense?

Reed Wilson:                         Yep.

Lori Ballen:                             Holy Molly. That’s a return of $167,000. Now, I’m going to take this one step further, and you can stop me if you don’t want to drill down, but you have a team. Out of those 26 closings, how many of those homes did you pay out in agent commissions to? You didn’t work it, you have a team, you paid it out to somebody else. How many of those deals did you have a cost to sale for an agent expense on?

Reed Wilson:                         26. I don’t work the leads; those are specifically for my team agents.

Lori Ballen:                             Beautiful. Out of those 26 deals, you would have paid out to your agents what? 50% or do you have maybe a different model?

Reed Wilson:                         Yeah. It’s about 50%; it’s a pretty standard team for what we have.

Lori Ballen:                             Let’s just say out that estimated $182,000, you pay out $90,000 and you never leave the house, you never go work a deal. You have a $90,000 to your operating expense account. After your cap or whatever … I don’t know whatever your guys’ fees are. Let’s just take that down to a rough estimate of $70,000 and if you’re running a team that’s 40% profitable … I know I’m really drilling down here but some people will appreciate this, $70,000 times 40. Technically, you’ve doubled your money, in your pocket, at the end of the day without ever leaving. Did you see how I went through that?

All right, that’s absolutely amazing. You doubled your income, you kept somebody else working and they made money off you.

Reed Wilson:                         Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                             For you, strategically, this is absolutely 100% an investment worth doing. Now, I always tell people, I’m an SEO girl, search engine optimization. I love to get my leads by ranking on the search engines. I also love to get leads through Facebook and generating agent-to-agent referrals. But agent-to-agent referrals have a cost of sale because you’re going to pay out 25% to 30% on that referrals so you would do very similar math to how that all … That’s actually more expensive than your Realtor.com is. Even my sphere of … My SEO costs money. I have content that’s assets, I’ve got my website, I’ve got IDX fees, I’ve got tools that I’m using on the website, so nothing is free.

Reed Wilson:                         Right.

Lori Ballen:                             I hear people say SEO is free and … Yeah, right. I mean, you’ve got tools, you’ve got software but you’re still spending money. However, SEO is proven to have the highest return: ROI on investment, but when you can spend pay per click marketing and you’re converting at 4.6% of those leads, which I have all your tracking sheets so I see the evidence. That, to me, has worked … I would do it all day long. There is no reason why I would not do that. As long as I’m tracking, I can show the return.

Here’s what I do know, Reed, that you also do your pay per click marketing through Ballen Brands, which is my company and you also get a significant amount through that, but both of those strategies: pay per click marketing … They’re both pay per click marketing , essentially or pay per lead. Essentially, you still have to have a methodology for converting those.

Part of the reason you’re converting 4.6% of the Realtor.com leads is because of your systems and your processes, so can you tell us a little bit about what happens when a lead comes in? How does your team flow the life of that lead? How is somebody responding? When are they responding? Go through that a little bit with us.

Reed Wilson:                         Like I said earlier, I don’t work the leads. The leads coming to me, and as soon as I get a lead, then they’re rerouted to one or two of my team members. My requirement is they are to follow-up with that lead within two minutes. No exceptions. If I don’t get a response back, I’m sending it back to another agent to get on top of that really quickly. The key is get on top of that lead immediately. Those leads are looking for instant responses.

Our response is now, while you mentioned we do pay per click marketing , those automatically go into an Autopilot program provided by Ballen Brands, which we love, but because Realtor.com leads are converting higher and they’re typically hotter, ready-to-go leads, we make those initials phone calls upfront, quickly … The first initial phone call and then again once within 12 hours. If we don’t get a response either times and they’re put on our Autopilot program to, again, let that work smarter not harder behind the scenes for us to focus on the new lead that’s coming in.

Again, first, they’re required to respond within two minutes. We do the initial follow-up and then they get put on to our Autopilot and drip campaigns.

Lori Ballen:                             Let’s talk about that for a second. For those of you that are listening that don’t know, Autopilot ISA is actually a software that my company, Ballen Brands, built. We built it because of my personal pain with generating web leads 24/7, that’s what I do and having a hard time getting to all of them quick enough and responding fast enough, so we created a digital text dialer system that has tested and measured proven messages that fire from the second the lead comes in, it automatically dials them a text. It has these set of question and it’s a three campaign software: it has an arrival, survival and a revival campaign.

What I’m hearing you say, Reed, is that you don’t put them on Autopilot, like I do the second they come in. If they’re a Realtor.com lead, you have that separated so that your people can chase them first. Is that correct?

Reed Wilson:                         Correct. Yes. Those leads, we made a choice that because they’re warmer and were having success, we make those initial calls upfront before putting them on Autopilot.

Lori Ballen:                             Let me ask you this, in my experience with chasing these web leads, I’ve had a very hard time getting people to answer the phone. Do you or do you guys have … Are you measuring that at all as far as are they answering their phone or are you also texting them? Do you know how many people are answering the phone or?

Reed Wilson:                         Believe it or not, if you can jumble them within two minutes, you’d actually have a very good change. I would say about 50% of the ones, and I know that may sound high, but about 50% of the ones we call immediately, within two minutes, we’re grabbing them on the phone because they haven’t had time to get distracted yet. They’ve hit the button and requested more information, they’re probably still from their computer or owned a Smartphone so we have a better chance of grabbing them.

If we don’t get them, we don’t leave a voicemail. We’ll send them a text immediately, “Hey, this is Reed Wilson of the Wilson Group. Just got your information. Please, give me a call back,” and we go from there. But we do find that jumping on them really quickly will increase your chance of grabbing them on the phone.

Lori Ballen:                             Fantastic. The two minute window sounds like it’s the magic thing right there. It’s actually catching them instantaneously in having somebody to directly dial, and that was where my biggest challenge was is because we’re not really set up that way, so to call that instant is more challenging for me, for sure, that’s why we put Autopilot in play.

It’s cool because you’ve got this experience with Autopilot and you’re using it for your Google AdWords campaigns. We can just be working, doing whatever we do and all of a sudden a text comes back in that’s a response from a customer that we didn’t even know our machine was texting and all of a sudden we’ve got live bait on … Not live bait, that’s a terrible word to use, but you know what I mean. We’ve got somebody live now that we can start texting with, which is cool.

Reed Wilson:                         We love it. My team swears by it. I mean, I can’t tell you the number of conversions or the leads that have come back in that … Night text … We don’t have the time to text people nine times over the course of two weeks, so we swear about the program.

Lori Ballen:                             It sounds, to me, like you guys are handling arrival and you’re letting Autopilot ISA do the survival: keeps … Churn of them until it can incubate them until they’re at that point ready to go.

Fantastic. Is there any other strategies with conversion that we should know about?

Reed Wilson:                         Really, just the quickness is, even though we call within two minutes, I mean, we find that other agents have already contacted them. That is the biggest key: follow-up. Have a system in place is really what I suggest to increase your chances of conversion to have a system in place. Without that, you’re not going to succeed with Realtor.com leads. I don’t believe you can. I mean, you have to have that system in place to increase your chance.

Lori Ballen:                             I’m going to have to look up … I wonder if they have any kind of quoted conversion rate that they believe their leads as an average convert because yours are very high, that’s fantastic. I think we had a 3% tracking. That was, gosh, five years ago or whatever it was and before we were doing text and all that so I would assume higher now.

Now, your biggest challenges are going to be … I noticed, when I asked you on your pre-interview, your biggest challenge you said was that even when you catch people, oftentimes, they already have a real estate agent or somebody else has already gotten to them first, right?

Reed Wilson:                         Correct.

Lori Ballen:                             I actually think that is the reason why conversion rates aren’t higher. I don’t think it’s as much about just agents not doing a good job, I think it is the fact that a lot of people nowadays like to have their own control, and even if they already have an agent they’re still out there surfing the web for properties and they register so that they can get the goodies whether it’s photos or downloads or whatever else. I’m actually tracking this. I have graphs and charts on how many people call me that already have a real estate and that number is growing and it’s over 20%.

It’s a pretty incredible feat to take on web leads because you have to know that half of the web leads are not going to be valid; there are going to be bad phone numbers, there are going to be bad emails, there are going to be people that already have an agent, there are going to be people who don’t qualify: lucky, lose, that type of thing, so you’re really trying to convert the 50% that’s remaining.

Reed Wilson:                         Yes.

Lori Ballen:                             Go ahead, Reed.

Reed Wilson:                         You’re exactly right. That’s one thing that we know, it is absolutely a numbers game. We have got to generate 100 leads to get two appointments. That’s one thing, too, for anyone looking to get into this source that you’re not going to convert or close every one of them. We get it, we learn it so we just have to constantly keep increasing our shares, our zip codes, our leads so we can just, of course, have that better opportunity.

Lori Ballen:                             I can tell you guys, all of my business comes … I’ve an interesting model, so although I have a team, it’s not a traditional team. They’re people that work under my name and my brand but essentially I generate the leads and they go close the deal, so I’m not really … I’ve chosen people that work like I do that are honest, ethical, skilled, experienced and all of that, and so I don’t really have to be in the office every day with them coaching and training, they just do a good job.

For me, my full-time business is to generate real estate leads and primarily do that on the web, but I will tell you and, Reed, I’m sure you’ll agree that we also have to have excellent partners because, if we are counting on what we do whether we’re buying leads or earning leads, and there’s a sweet spot and combination for all of it, we have to know that whoever we’re handing those leads off to is going to be fantastic. We also have to know that we have lenders that we’re working with that are also going to get somebody qualified. There are all kinds of little … It’s like the baton race where they’re passing the baton, if anybody slows down or anybody drops the baton, you don’t get to the finish line.

Building a team and building strategic partners is key to converting these leads. Would you agree, Reed?

Reed Wilson:                         Absolutely. When you talk about lenders and other partners, when you send that lead to someone to get qualified, they’re a representative of us; we’re the referral, so you’re absolutely right. You have to pick your power team very carefully.

Lori Ballen:                             Absolutely. All right, so in closing up this interview, I want to let everybody know that Reed has given us his 10 steps to success with Realtor.com leads, and I can tell you, for the most part, these apply to any web leads. Reed, why don’t you just, really quick, tell us what those 10 are and then I’ll attach it for everybody to get access to the downloaded image.

Reed Wilson:                         Sure. First, like I mentioned earlier, you have to have a good CRLMO system. There’s not right now, you just have to have one that you’re going to work and works for you. Strategize on lead handling. Are you going to work them yourself? Are you going to have a team represent them? Then, the next one I put: show me the money. Have a budget. It’s okay to start small … That way, you can scale it to grow. Talk it out. I have a fantastic Realtor.com account rep that I’m happy to share his information if you wanted to contact me. Determine what’s happening in your market: the pricing for a zip code or shares. Commit to 12 months. You’re not going to convert 100 in the first month; you’re just not but commit to, at least, 12 months.

Follow-up and work the leads. Again, we talk about the two minutes. Our number one goal, with every lead, is to make the appointment. Ask for referrals. That’s actually very important because, if you can get a referral from a lead you paid for, that’s an extra incentive that you didn’t pay for. I mean, we really do ask for referrals for those leads that we did pay for. Pay-off. If you start small and you have your first closing, pay that contract off. Eliminate that expense while you still have the leads coming in, or invest that team income or your income back into another zip code or increase your opportunity. Then, be patient. It’s going to take time to build it up.

Lori Ballen:                             Those are fantastic. Absolutely spot on. All right, so you said you’ve got a great Realtor.com source for everybody. If they contact you, also, I’m absolutely sure that you would love their referrals out there in Virginia.

Reed Wilson:                         Absolutely.

Lori Ballen:                             Tell them how they can all put all your contact info also in the podcast description and in the write-up. How does somebody reach you?

Reed Wilson:                         Absolutely. You can reach me via phone or text at 804-396-4625. You can find me on Facebook: Reed Wilson, or a website: TheWilsonGroup RVA.com.

Lori Ballen:                             All right. Perfect. Thank you so much. You gave us some gold today and I really appreciate it, Reed. I’ll be seeing you actually very soon for our hands-on workshop, so thank you so much.

Reed Wilson:                         Absolutely. No problem. Thank you.

Lori Ballen:                             All right, talk to you later.

About Reed Wilson

Real Estate Is My Passion!!!

I truly enjoy working with my friends & clients to make the process of buying, or selling a home stress-free, and as streamlined of a process as possible. Of course, if we have a little fun along the way, no harm in that too right? As the Principal Broker/Owner of my own firm, The Wilson Group, I really do make Real Estate Focused On You. What does this mean for you? Your goals and best interests are held with the highest priority, and I will go above and beyond to make sure you are happy all the way to you getting the keys to your new home, or a SOLD sign is in your yard if you are selling. Earning your trust, respect, and building a long time relationship is how I measure the success of happy clients. ( and you will be happy with me!) Whether you are looking to sell, buy, or lease a home in the Richmond, Va. area give me a call, and I will take care of the rest.

As a resident of Richmond, and the Fan District area for over 10 years, and having a second home in Hampton Roads, I appreciate everything the Commonwealth of Virginia has to offer. As a reported “Foodie”, I especially enjoy the area’s vast variety of locally owned restaurants. I can usually be found at a VCU Rams Basketball game, a Flying Squirrels game, at the area’s local festivals, and most enjoy those that also cater to my eclectic music tastes. And when I am not working or breathing in our local culture, I also enjoy spending time with my Golden Retriever “Wesley”, volunteering with the SPCA and traveling the globe.

I am always looking for that next great vacation spot and my favorite travel destinations to date have been Italy, Puerto Vallarta, Dominican Republic, Belize, Sarasota Fl., and the Caribbean.