Glenn: Hi! It’s Glenn McQueenie, and welcome to my 25-Minute Success Series Podcast. Today, we have a long distance guest on the phone, and we’re talking to Kimberly Small from My Home Group in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. So how are you doing, Kim?
Kim: Hi Glenn! I’m doing great, how are you?
Glenn: Oh, I’m doing really well. I’m excited to talk to you. For those people listening, Scottsdale is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world. I’ve had the pleasure to be there probably about 7 or 8 times. It’s just on the north tip of Phoenix, Arizona. It’s right in the middle of the desert, and it’s probably one of the coolest places in the world. So I’m a little bit jealous, Kim, that you get to work in that market all the time, and I get to work in Toronto.
Kim: Well, you can come down and visit anytime you want, Glenn.
Glenn: That’s awesome. Thank you!
Kim: We’ll have you anytime.
Glenn: Perfect. So can you just give us a little background of how long you’ve been in the business, where you are now, and where you would like to go?
Kim: Sure. I have been in the business just shy of 14 years, and I am in a place right now where I have broken off from a larger company to My Home Group, and I have a very small team, which is myself, one other agent, and a budding part-time admin. In the place of re-evaluation and new growth is where I’d say I am. I’ve always been a referral agent. I’ve always been kind of a boutique businessperson, if you will, as opposed to more of a large, paper mill grind kind of team. I have been able to find some success in business, and yet, I’ve never been able to get off the real estate rollercoaster of, “Oh my goodness! I have all this business. And then I have no business. And then I have all this business, and then I have no business.” So in all of my stages of business, I have always still been on that rollercoaster.
Glenn: Right. So what would you like to do? Who’s your perfect client right now? Think back over the last 12 months or 24 months on four or five perfect clients, where you just loved working with them. They loved you. It was a relatively easy transaction just because you guys had similar mindsets and there was a lot of trust and stuff. Just paint a picture of the avatar of your perfect client – who they are, or who you’d love to work with all the time.
Kim: That’s really easy for me, because I just had a closing this past week, and that’s exactly how I would describe this scenario from start to finish. It was a referral couple – a young couple, first-time homebuyers, right here in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona. They were a referral client. They had nothing but trust from the very, very start. We had a start to finish transaction. From the time I met them to the time they were closing in their new home, it was basically six weeks from start to finish. They had nothing but trust from the very get-go for me. I absolutely love teaching first-time homebuyers. I’m passionate about teaching. I love the handholding process of teaching them and helping them to understand and sitting down with them and meeting with them in person and helping them to understand the process from start to finish – how to understand everything from the beginning purchase, to understanding the financing portion, and sitting down with the lender and making sure that they feel warm and fuzzy about everything, and going through the home inspection process. Everything with regard to that has been wonderful. I’m actually working with another couple now who are at the opposite end of the spectrum, and yet, they’re just as fabulous. They’re an older, empty nester couple (also referral clients). However, they’re new to each other, so they feel like first-time homebuyers all over again. So we’re going through that handholding process of teaching them together – teaching them about Arizona, and teaching them about the market here. They have their home inspection today. So that’s been my niche of my favourite type of people to work with – the people who know me and love me, who’ve been referred to me, and I love them. They have that innate trust in me, and together we can just conquer the world and get through anything, even if there are hiccups or things that go wrong in the transaction, because there will be.
Glenn: Right. Yeah, I mean, it’s the emotional piggybank, right? Things go wrong, so there’s going to be a couple of withdrawals along the way, but if you have a big, deep bank, everyone’s like, “Okay, well it’s just stuff that happens.” I love when you were talking about how you just love your clients and love helping them and serving and leading them. And that’s probably why you get so many referrals, because people just feel it when they’re working with you.
Kim: Thanks. I really do enjoy it. I relish those times. It reinvigorates me. Just before I started working with that young couple, I had a really draining, yucky transaction that I just knew from the beginning I shouldn’t have been a part of. And then I met with this young couple, and I sat with them for three hours after hours. I don’t think I got home until 8:30 at night. You would have thought I came from the amusement park! I was bouncing off the walls! I was so excited to have met with them. It literally changes everything about my being – who I am, how I see the world, how I react to my family – and I couldn’t have been happier.
Glenn: Right. Well isn’t it interesting that the kind of mindsets you’re trying to attract are exactly who you are? When you feel loved and warm and supported, you’re at your best self, and the way you feel loved and warm and supported is by helping other people, and making them feel loved and warm and supported. Isn’t that amazing?
Kim: Absolutely! 100%.
Glenn: Right! Okay, so your niche market is people that you can serve at a really high level by holding their hand and guiding them through the very challenging process, because when you do that, it makes you feel good. A lot of other realtors are high transaction-based. They’re just trying to do deals. The sense I get from you, Kim, is you’re counting relationships, where a lot of your other realtors are just counting deals.
Kim: Exactly. I would agree with that 100%, Glenn.
Glenn: Great. So if that’s the case, then we have to try to find where those people are right now. What’s keeping them up at night? Then what we can do is create a niche around getting the right messaging and the right target, zeroing right in on what their biggest fears are, so that they see what you’re offering. It’s kind of like fishing – you use different lures to catch different fish. When they see that you’re talking that language all the time, they’re sitting there going, “You get me.” Does that make sense?
Glenn: Right. It’s like when you’re sitting with a good friend having a great chat, and you’re like, “Oh my God, you get me!” “Oh, I know, I totally get you, too!” And that’s what just makes for this really amazing conversation, right? So where is your first-time buyer now? Where are they living now, and where are they going to buy? We’re designing this program. I’m in charge of filling three appointments for you tomorrow of the perfect client avatar, so I need to know where they are, and where they typically go.
Kim: They are in North Scottsdale. How we describe Scottsdale is we divide Scottsdale into zip codes, or little neighbourhoods. So the 85255 area of Scottsdale is where I live and spend most of my time. It’s where my kids go to school. So that McDowell Mountain Ranch area – where I live, work, play, work out, all that stuff – that’s where I’d like to focus on, because I know the schools, I know the places to go, I know the places to eat. It really makes sense because I can serve my clients at the highest level. It’s not that there’s a part of the valley that I haven’t sold a piece of real estate, because in almost 14 years, I have. Yet, I’d love to focus my energy and time the most where I feel that I can give the most of my value and my community.
Glenn: That’s also where you’re most confident, because you just know everything, right? There’s not going to be a question that somebody’s going to ask and you’re going to be like, “Uh, I don’t know.” You’re going to be like, “Well, thanks for asking me that question, and here’s a great answer.” For those people listening (and I might be a bit geographically challenged), but I’m pretty sure that the McDowell Ranch is in the northeast corner of Scottsdale. Is that right?
Kim: Absolutely. That’s absolutely correct, yes.
Glenn: Okay, perfect. So where are they living right now, before they move to that McDowell Ranch area?
Kim: So more than likely, they are renting an apartment, and they’re probably living nearby. They might be living even in Old Town Scottsdale, because they’re getting ready to build a family. Maybe they’re renting an apartment in Old Town Scottsdale, and they’re getting ready to move up to what’s called “the suburbs” here in Scottsdale. They still want to be in Scottsdale, because maybe they work in Scottsdale. Yet, they want more of a family type of environment, so that’s going to lead them to go a little bit further north. That’s typically the trajectory or the trend that happens here. Younger couples such as these first-time homebuyers are typically buying into half a million dollar price ranges. They are typically going from, “Okay, we’re going to leave our apartment-style living” to “It’s time for us to start a family, so now we’re interested in where the great school districts are. We’d like to find our first home.”
Glenn: Okay. And what’s their biggest fear right now? What’s keeping them awake at night? They’re lying in their beds together, talking about, “I’m tired of renting. We’ve got to move.”
Kim: I think a lot of times, it’s just the fear of uncertainty. Maybe a fear of not really knowing where they want to live, or the fear of finances – the economic insecurity, the political current, and where things are going and where the market is going. That’s something that I hear constantly. However, when I do hear couples that are pretty strong in the fact that they know, “Okay, this is where we want to be, and this is where we want to go,” I think their fear then is just trusting that they are going to be paired up with the right type of individual, and knowing that they can trust their agent. I don’t know if I’m making sense in that?
Glenn: Yeah, absolutely.
Kim: If they’re sure they want to buy, the economic current or the political current falls by the wayside then, I think.
Glenn: For sure. They’re just those mini objections. It’s like those thousands of thoughts that enter our head every day, and sometimes we latch onto them and think it’s a big deal. And then the more motivated we get, the less we think they’re a big deal. It’s just like, “Yeah, okay. Whatever.” It’s amazing how when you walk into a house with a buyer and they love it, every single objection just evaporates. Or they drive up and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t really like where it is on the street.” And then they walk in and they’re like, “Yeah, I don’t care where it is on the street. I think it’s perfect.”
Kim: “This is it! I don’t care if it’s north/south-facing.”
Glenn: They don’t even care anymore. It’s like, “Okay, I’m good.” Okay, so your target’s basically Millennials. Now, are these professional people? Are they blue-collar people? Are they university educated? Not university educated (or college, I guess you guys call it down there?)
Kim: I’m finding that most of them are a mixture of being university/college educated, but they mostly are young. Even though they’re looking online, again, because I’m such a strong referral-based agent, I’m still getting them referred by their friends and family that have purchased with me, even if they’re in their 20s. They may come to me already with all of their research done, because they’ve already looked online, and yet, they are still needing that handholding process. They’re still needing the education. They’re still needing a mom figure, if you will, to help them and guide them through the process. So I’d say it’s a mix. They’re young professionals, most of them, whether they have gone to university or not. Most of them are young professionals in one way or another, whether they own their own businesses or are working in the marketplace (whether it be in technology, medical, and such). Hopefully I answered your question, Glenn.
Glenn: Yeah, I totally get it. And the beautiful thing about when you have all the listings on a public access MLS is most of them do all their own research ahead of time. I remember reading this great stat. I think NAR came out with it. It said 88% of buyers drove by the house before they made the appointment to go and see it with a realtor. So they’re kind of creeping around. And I just went through that myself. I bought a cottage (or what you guys call a cabin), and for a year or two, I was just up there driving. I was anonymous. No one knew I was looking, unless I wanted to go and book an appointment. And that’s what people do, right? We’re used to getting free information on the Internet. We’re going to creep things. We’re going to creep people. We’re going to creep neighbourhoods. We’re going to find out all of our research, because that’s what we’re used to doing – especially Millennials. That’s just how they live their life. I think the average showing time has dropped from 40-50 hours down to 8-10 hours, because they’re doing all the research ahead of time. We’ve kind of given up 70 yards of the game so far, but we still have the last 30 yards, which is the most important, because now the risk is bigger. They need an agent to guide them. They’re looking for someone to shepherd them through this whole thing, or be their mom, as you said. So if that’s where they are, and we know where they’re going to go to, now we just need to construct some type of platform that they’re going to find you. Then they’re going to keep doing a little bit more research, and eventually they’re going to put up their hand and come out from the shadows and say, “Hey, I need your help!” I think there are a couple avenues that we can do. Number one is, I would probably call all of your past client Millennials right now, and I would just do the two-question call, which is a really amazing call. You can do it at any time of the year, and it’s perfect for people who’ve bought in the last two months to 24 months. And you just call up and go, “Hey, it’s Kim! How are you!?” And they’re like, “Hi!” And here are the questions: “How are you?” And here’s the second tough one: “How’s your home?” And when you ask those two questions, people hear that they matter, they’re important, you haven’t forgotten about them, and you get to reconnect with them right away. And you’re not asking for anything. You don’t call and go, “Oh, by the way, I love referrals, too.” That would violate the code. The code is, call and say, “How are you?” You re-engage. It’s like, “Oh my God! I haven’t heard from you. We haven’t talked for awhile.” “Oh, great, we love our house! We love it. It’s so amazing!” And then just wait, and they’re going to bring up real estate, because that’s what your connection is. They’re going to say, “Oh, how’s the market?” And now this is where your scripting will become really important, because the most likely people to refer these Millennials to you are the existing Millennial past clients that you have. But the more specific of a referral request we can ask for in a very clever way, the better outcome you’re going to get. So if I was having that phone call, you’re my Millennial client. They’re like, “Well, Glenn, how’s real estate going?” And it’s like, “Oh, it’s great! I just helped a young couple (you almost describe someone just like themselves) buy their first home. They were renting in Old Scottsdale. They were totally worried about their finances and how to get a mortgage and the political factors, but we ended up finding this beautiful home in McDowell Ranch, and they’re in the best school district ever. That’s when I love what I do! And you know what? I just found another amazing home in a great school district, but I don’t have any clients for that. Do you know of anyone who’s thinking about moving into this school district for that home?” Does that make sense?
Kim: Absolutely. Love it!
Glenn: And you’re actually doing a very specific referral request without going, “Do you have any referrals for me?” People don’t really refer because it makes them feel good; they refer because it increases their status in the herd. They’re not doing you a favour. They’re doing it because they want the person they referred to you to come back to them and say, “Oh my God, thank you so much for referring Kim to me. She was amazing! We couldn’t have done it without her. Thank you so much.” And it makes them feel great.
Kim: Makes sense!
Glenn: Okay, so that would be the first one. The second one is, what if you were to create a guide to the best schools in McDowell Ranch? Do you know if another agent is doing that right now? Has anyone got “bestschoolsinmcdowell.com?”
Kim: I don’t know.
Glenn: They’re looking to buy a home, but they don’t want to move in two or three years. They’re going to start a family, and if you ever talk to people who have a family (if they’ve got kids that are one and three, or two and four) and they’re thinking about moving, the only thing they care about is to get them into a great school district, so that they can have a better life than they did. Would you agree?
Kim: I would agree with that for sure.
Glenn: Yeah. So what if the bait was: “Here’s a list of the Top 10 Best Schools,” or you did reports on the Top 10 Best Schools? Are you allowed to do that in your laws and stuff? I know you guys have weird rules where you can’t discriminate against another school or talk trash about another neighbourhood.
Kim: I don’t really think that there’s anything specifically that would bar against anything like that. It would have to be something along the lines of, “Here are the Top 10 Best Schools in Scottsdale,” because a place like McDowell Mountain Ranch only has one. I think they only have one elementary school and one middle school, and then they feed into one big high school because it’s such a small neighbourhood.
Kim: However, the bigger, vast area surrounding it has a lot more schools. There’s a great resource called greatschools.org (or it might be greatschools.net – I’m not positive). However, it’s definitely something, because I’m a mom, and together, my husband and I have four kids. So I’ve definitely been down that path, and schools have always been super important to me. It’s definitely something that I can speak to confidently. Whether I know the answer or not, I know how to find the information. I’m not 100% positive if that’s something that I could publish. However, it’s definitely worth looking into and extremely valuable information to find out, or teach people how to find it.
Glenn: Right. And what if you created your own Facebook page called “85255 Best Schools” or “Best Schools in North Scottsdale” – something that was so big that you can just keep referring to it on your post that would be driving people back to that site? You could almost do, “Hey, today I’m outside of this school, and here’s why I really love this school. Well, first of all, homes in this neighbourhood (starter homes) are between $350,000 and $450,000, and usually you’re going to get a three-bedroom ranch.” And then you’d spin it onto real estate. Does that make sense?
Glenn: Yeah. So what you’re really starting to do is positioning yourself as the expert in North Scottsdale on what house prices are, and best schools. I loved your passion earlier when you were talking about, “I know all the restaurants, and I know where to get everything.” You could say, “Oh, the other advantage to being in this neighbourhood would be these five restaurants, and here’s what I love about them.”
Glenn: And the more you position yourself as someone just sitting there, finding you on Facebook, or you’re promoting it out, or you do a Facebook boost (you boost an ad), you’re just looking for people to go, “Oh my God! She knows exactly what we’re looking for.”
Kim: Absolutely. I love it, and I think it’s invaluable. I tell my clients, whether they have children or not, your property values are always going to be better where the schools are better.
Kim: So it doesn’t even matter. Even for this couple that I’m working with now that are empty nesters, they still want to buy in an area where there’s a great school district, because that’s where they’re going to hold their value.
Glenn: Right. So couldn’t you do a quick video or quick report on, “Whether or not you have kids, this school district really matters. And listen, here’s my research that I’ve been doing. Not everyone’s going to have kids, and that’s fine. You don’t have to have kids to live in a great school district. But if you’re really concerned about building wealth, protecting your property values, and not losing money in real estate, I’m going to tell you to buy in the best school districts first.”
Glenn: “Because we know that when markets rise, the best school districts go up quicker, and when they fall, the best school districts don’t fall as much. I’m pretty passionate about building your wealth, and I want to take care of all of my clients and help them pay off their mortgage.” And then you become that caring, guiding, positioning agent that you really are to the marketplace.
Kim: That’s awesome. I love it!
Glenn: It’s almost like you position yourself as the advocate, right? “I’m the one fighting for your rights.” Most of the other agents are sending stupid “Just listed” or “Just sold” cards, or door-knocking again, or calling people. If you like to do it, do it. But, I mean, I hate when people knock on my door, and I hate when people cold call me. So I don’t really understand that model, where there’s such a better way to do it. When you just bring who you are (and the way you are is perfect), you don’t have to be like any other agent. You just bring you to your target market of people who are just like you, and then you can build a whole niche. And have you ever noticed, 99% of the time, great people refer great clients to you?
Glenn: Jerks refer jerks. So that’s why it’s so important for you to just get really clear on what the mindsets are. I would use that wording. One of the mindsets is that you like to take care of people. You like to be their mom. You like to take them under your wing. You’re going to guide them safely through this real estate transaction. You’ve been doing this for 14 years. You’ve probably seen 55 different problems come up, and you know exactly how to deal with them. The more you push that stuff is the way you get someone to find you, and they sit there and go, “Hold on. This is an agent who knows all the great schools, all the great neighbourhoods, all the great restaurants. She works really only by referral. I’ll be lucky if I get to work with her. And look at all these reviews that she’s got from her people!” And that’s what you do. That’s how you really build it. It doesn’t even have to be a big business, because you’ll find that you could easily double or triple the size of your business, and it’s not going to be that much work, and it’s not going to be that much more money, because it’s all coming from referrals.
Kim: Absolutely. That’s exciting, Glenn.
Glenn: Isn’t that fun? Do you have any questions?
Kim: How do I get started?
Glenn: Well that’s the thing, right? You just start looking at it. “Okay, over the next 12 months, here’s what I want to do in the first three months. I’m going to silently be doing all my research, and finding great schools, reports of great schools, and articles about great schools, searching the digital world to try to find all the information that you can. Then you’re going to put it on one spot, and create “Best Schools - Scottsdale,” “Best Schools - 83255.” You’ve got to have a bit of a web landing page. You don’t have to invest and spend a lot of money on this, but you need even a WordPress site, where you can start putting your content up. Then Facebook gives you free business pages, and if you keep talking about this all the time, people will start realizing that you’re the expert on it. The more you self-press yourself as the expert on it, your value from the consumer goes up, because they go, “Oh, you’re not just like every other agent. You’re actually a specialist in this.” And then the more content you create online, you become like a celebrity specialist. Now people are trying to fight to get to work with you, because you’re the specialist. You’re the person who can solve their selfish problem. And that’s all they really care about.
Kim: I like it.
Glenn: Yeah. And then the second step is (the next three months), I would probably go and get as many testimonials (preferably video, but if not, written testimonials) from people you’ve already helped. And what you really want them to be saying is, “Oh my God. It seemed so overwhelming, this whole process. We were lying awake at night going, “Oh my God, how are we ever going to do it? And then we met Kim, and Kim just safely guided us through it, and we honestly couldn’t have done it without her. And now look at our house! It’s beautiful. It’s a house that we bought for less than we thought it was going to be, and it’s in a killer school district. And I love to eat in Scottsdale or go to Old Scottsdale. I live nearby!” That’s the kind of messaging you want to get out to the marketplace. I would do that very silently over the next month or two, and then you just pop up into September, and you launch it. And then the other cool thing would be to maybe call some of your past clients – I mean, I would do the two-question call anyway, because that’s just going to build up leads for your fall market – but I would also, if you’ve got really, really super relationships with some of them, just say, “Listen, I’m planning on doing this. Could you help me with this? Could we go for coffee? I’d love to pick your brain about what you were thinking about, because I just love working with people like you, and I want to know the right way to target them.”
Glenn: There you go!
Kim: That’s exciting!
Glenn: What you’re going to find is that you create this unique technology that’s only going to draw those people. Then the next six months is really about you building in that back-end service, so that everyone has the same great, raving fan experience for you, and all they want to do is start referring everybody they know. And that’s how you build your tribe of people in your niche market, because you’re the expert, they love you, they start sending everyone they know, and you live happily ever after.
Kim: I love it, Glenn. It’s very exciting!
Glenn: That’s awesome! Alright. Well Kim, do you have any other questions? Are we going to wrap up? Or was there anything else I can help you with?
Kim: No, I’m excited to put this into action and follow up with you!
Kim: Thank you so much for your time. I’m really excited. Thank you so much for your time and your insight.
Glenn: Oh, my pleasure, Kim. It’s great talking to you, and I will pop by and visit you the next time I’m in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks a million, Kim!
Kim: Looking forward to it, Sir. Looking forward to it! Thank you so much!
Glenn: Okay, bye!
Kim: Thank you! Bye bye!