Episode 6: Secrets of Successful Niches - Candice Frigault-S
Intro: Hi! This is Glenn McQueenie, and welcome to 20 Minutes of Insider Secrets of Successful Niches. This is where you learn the insider secrets to dominate your target market. You’ll learn to work with high-margin, super-happy clients, and build a tribe of loyal, raving fans for your business. So excited to have you join me today, so sit back and enjoy 20 Minutes of Insider Secrets of Successful Niches.
Glenn: Well hello everybody, and welcome to my Success Series podcast. I’m so excited today to have Candice Frigault-Schott join me. Hi Candice, how are you?
Candice: Hi Glenn! Thanks for having me.
Glenn: Oh, what a pleasure, and thanks for taking the time to come on this. So let me just give everyone a real quick background, quick bio, on Candice, and then we’ll move into the call. So Candice has been a real estate broker and sales manager for the Schott team, which is a great real estate team. She has over 12 years’ experience in real estate, and prior to that, she was with IBM for 6 years. And so what I found is she just brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her team. And she’s not only part of the Top 25 realtors in Canada for Keller Williams, but she’s also a real estate coach and a teacher at different brokerages. So Candice’s motto is always to treat all clients as though they were family members, because family is the most important thing in her life. And I’ve just found with her, she just says, “Why not bring that same kind of mantra into the real estate business?” So welcome, Candice, and can you just maybe tell us about your journey into building a really cool real estate business?
Candice: Sure. When I started over 12 years ago, I started at a different brokerage, and experienced a typical “Okay, you got your license. Good to go!” And I had no idea what I was doing. And after a couple of years of doing that, I thought I needed to move to a brokerage that would provide me some more education and mentorship to help me actually build a business. And that’s when I decided to join Keller Williams, and within one year I doubled my business just from changing brokerages and being able to learn from the best in the business and get some more education around how to actually run a real estate business. From there, after meeting some incredibly successful agents throughout our offices, I had the good fortune of being able to mentor with some top agents and actually learn how to not only sell houses, but actually run a team as though it’s a business, just like I worked at IBM, and apply systems and processes in place that would allow us to run like a business, seamlessly and quite efficiently, and learn how to treat all of our clients the same. So now here we are, 12 years later, and I would love to see everybody else do something similar. So now I turn around and teach other agents on the stuff I learned to help them also be a success. So it’s been a really fun rollercoaster, that’s for sure.
Glenn: You know Candice, what I love about your business is you’ve figured out what your niche is. And your niche is really just going really deep with your existing clients and sphere of influence, and really focusing all of your time, money, and marketing efforts to the people who already know, like, and trust you. So can you just tell the audience what your business looks like right now and what kind of percentage you get from referrals and past clients?
Candice: Sure. Yeah. So as you had mentioned earlier, we like to treat our clients as though they’re part of the family. Part of that is staying in their lives forever, if they’ll have us. And part of that process for us is just making sure that we give them incredible service, not only during the actual process of buying and selling a home, but after the fact, too. We don’t want them to think that we got paid and that we’re going to run away and never see them again. For us, it’s all about having a long-lasting relationship through life. And the way we do that and maintain a relationship is not only through various things throughout the year such as acknowledging their birthdays and their anniversaries, and anything special and big that happens in their life, such as having children or their kids have graduated from high school, but also bringing clients together throughout the year with different client appreciation events so that we can have some really great face time that has nothing to do with real estate, just a way to say thank you for your support and your business. And by that, we do different types of parties where we just try to spoil our clients rotten so that they never forget about us, and so that they see it’s not just about the real estate transaction for us, and that it’s more about the relationship and the bonds that we create after the fact. So we really pride ourselves on that part. And I would say through activities like that, our repeat and referral business is easily about 75% of our business. Ideally we’d love to be at 100%, but of course we always want to be bringing in new business so that our business continuously stays young. So I focus on repeat and referrals, and the other team members, they focus on new business through different lead-generations.
Glenn: Wow. So how did you discover that that was what your niche was going to be? Like what were the steps that you kind of discovered?
Candice: Well I love to entertain, and I love to be around my friends, and I absolutely love cooking. And so I thought, “Well, how can I bring in that aspect that I love so much into a place where I get paid, basically?” And, just like a baseball player, they love the sport, and they get paid tons of money to do it. And I was like, “What a cool idea would that be to actually love what you do and make a living out of it.” And so, we just started incorporating what I love, which is cooking. I love cooking, and I’ve taken chef courses. And I thought, “Well, if I love cooking so much for my family and friends, why not do it for clients and turn them into friends?” So we just started entertaining fully, doing small dinner parties, poker parties where I also get to cook up a storm, but a completely different type, and then we started turning them into bigger parties where I was actually entertaining, you know, 100 people at a time, which, you know, to some people, seems to be quite daunting, but for me, it’s what I love. I love the planning aspect. I love the cooking aspect. You know, being able to be in front of my clients. So I thought, “Why not take my passions and turn it into our repeat and referral business just by doing something that I love?”
Glenn: Yeah. That is so cool. What has the payoff been for you over the last few years, as you’ve been kind of going deeper and deeper and inviting new people into your world and building your repeat and referral business? What’s the payoff been for you?
Candice: So often you see agents that work 7 days a week, and they’re exhausted, and they’re spinning their wheels, and they don’t have any time for anything else but work, which I get is a great work ethic for some people, and that’s what they love. They want to work that much. I personally need balance in my life. I need balance because we have a family, I have a husband, we like to travel, and we like to entertain. So the importance for me was being able to create that balance, and when you work repeat and referral, or within the niche that you love, all of a sudden you’re not chasing absolutely everything in your world to try and get a sale done. You’re just spending time in the area that you’re best at, which then frees up time for you to do other things, but still make a really great living, and actually love what you do. So I think over the last couple years, just perfecting our systems and our processes so that our business runs like a self-managed business, where it’s so automated that we don’t have to spend as much time as other agents worrying about next steps and admin and paperwork and everything else that has to be done and fly by the seat of your pants. We have it all packaged up and running like such a well-oiled machine that it gives us time to step away from the business, and our business still runs even when we’re not there, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. So I would say I probably work the least amount I’ve ever worked in my life because I’m just focusing on what I love. And instead of working 60-hour weeks, which a lot of agents do, I am working maybe 30 hours a week now. And the goal is to try and work down to 20-25, and spend more time with the team and growing the team. That’s my goal in the next couple years is to just try and work a little less, and enjoy life a lot more.
Glenn: It’s really amazing, isn’t it, how friction-free your business becomes when you work with people who already like, trust, and respect you? And I always find that when you’re working with those people, they just become easier transactions, instead of working with people who don’t know you, who don’t really like you yet, and they certainly don’t trust you yet. And because that process seems to take a lot longer to build the trust, it just seems that the transactions take a lot longer. Whereas your model is, really, “Well, people already like, trust, and know me, and I love those people. And if I do a great job for them, they’ll just send more people just like them into my business.”
Glenn: So why do you think the conventional wisdom of two hours of random lead-generation or cold calling, door-knocking, is so prevalent right now, rather than your more niche-focused approach?
Candice: I think that people still teach the old school ways of doing real estate. I think that’s what most people know. I mean, they go into different brokerages where that’s the mentality. “You get into this business, you have to prospect. You need to get clients. And here is the way we know: door-knocking, cold calling.” And it’s not that those don’t work. I’m sure they do for some people. I’ve never personally done it myself, but I know that people have had huge success from it. I think the issue behind that, is that if you don’t like doing that, if you don’t like door-knocking and cold calling, if it makes you uncomfortable, you’re not going to stay in this business for long. You’re going to be out within probably six months to a year, because you’re going to be incredibly unhappy because you’re not doing what you love. And I think that brokerages, or broker managers, spend so much time trying to push people into this that they don’t ask the questions, “What do you love? What do you love to do on a daily basis? Who do you hang around with? What are you passionate about? What sports teams are you on?” They’re not focusing on their lives and trying to figure out, “Okay, so how can we build a business out of you loving to play sports all summer long, and you being on 14 different sporting teams throughout the year?” or whatever it might be. The focus should be there and focusing on what you love, what are you passionate about, versus what are you going to hate doing every morning when you go to work, and you’re barely going to want to get out of bed. And I think that’s what’s happening, is that people leave the business for that very reason. They’re not excited to get out of bed and go to work, and they’re not excited to cold call and get hung up on 25 out of 100 calls. I think if everybody focused and the industry spent more time focusing on what people love, I think there’d be a lot more happy agents out there and a lot less people leaving the industry if they got to do what they loved.
Glenn: You know, I couldn’t agree more. I just love the whole thought of just bringing you, (because everyone else is already taken), to your group of sports teams, or wherever, because lead-generation is really everywhere, right? And it doesn’t have to be active, wear your real estate nametag everywhere you go. It can be more passive, right? It can be just about being a great person in social environments of people you really like, and really just positioning yourself as, when someone thinks about real estate, they think about you. So I just love that whole idea you were talking about, about just getting into whatever subgroup or building a tribe of people who you just like to hang around with all the time, and then just get really purposeful on your lead-generation to them, because they already like, trust, and respect you. So what do you think are the most common lies, myths, or misconceptions in the marketplace right now, just regarding agents building their business, finding their niche, or whatever? What do you see out there?
Candice: Well I think that agents feel like they have to be everything to everyone. They have to be a negotiator, a condo expert, a house expert, a therapist, a divorce lawyer, a financial analyst, and an HR person. You name it; they feel like they have to be everything. But if they focus in on the one part that they’re great at, and allow somebody else, or build a team to take care of the rest, I think everyone’s lives will be easier. I think that, as we’ve discussed before, the single agent is definitely on the decline, because somebody cannot physically be absolutely everything to everyone, and they’re burning out, and they’re realizing that quite fast. And I think if people focused on just what they are good at, and built a team around the parts that they’re not, so that they can go ahead and also have those people do what they love, I think you can build a really successful business model and team if you just starting doing that, versus feeling like you have to be everybody. So I think that’s the biggest thing that’s happening out there right now. With so many agents in the city of Toronto, (I think we have 45,000 on the Board; 33,000 are active), that’s a lot of people to compete against. And when you take into account that a lot of those agents are now building nice big teams and kind of singling out the individual agents and winning the business, I think agents need to start changing their focus and start thinking about the long road, and putting together something that’s going to be sustainable, versus something that’s only going to last for the next couple of years.
Glenn: That’s great advice. That is super advice. What would be maybe a great first step that you would tell someone who’s listening to this podcast right now? What would be the first step if you were coaching them?
Candice: I think that knowing what you’re really great at, and being humbled by what you’re not great at would be a good start. For example, I know I hate paperwork. I have no desire to touch another deal trade ever again in my life, but I know that my assistant loves it. So I think that starting with, “What do you love about real estate? What do you hate?” because we’re not going to love everything. And really digging down and figuring out, “Here are my strengths. Here are my absolute weaknesses. And how can I talk to people or partner with someone who’s going to be really great at the stuff that I’m not?” because they absolutely exist. We’re all very different people. We all love doing different things, and we certainly don’t have strengths in every area of this industry. So I think figuring that out, whether it be through some personality testing or something of the sort, I think discovering your strengths first, and definitely owning up to your weaknesses and being able to partner would be the first step, absolutely, because I get asked all the time about joining our team, or how we started our team. And our first one is discovering “What are you great at and what don’t you want to do?” Because if you don’t want to do paperwork, I’m obviously not going to have you as my assistant. So I think that’s the biggest piece of advice I’d give to somebody right now.
Glenn: Yeah. Stay in your strengths. Be a master of your strengths, and almost be like a minor in your weaknesses. It’s so interesting how so many people spend most of their time trying to perfect their weaknesses, and I’m always like, “Why would you ever want to major in your weaknesses? You should be majoring in your strengths, minoring in your weaknesses, and really just hiring that out, because you’ll just love this business a lot more.”
Candice: Absolutely. Yeah. Square peg in a round hole doesn’t fit.
Glenn: Yeah. That’s right. So what are some of the roadblocks that you’ve encountered just on your journey? As people are listening to this and shifting and saying, “I’m going to focus on this,” there’s going to be roadblocks. So what advice would you give them when they stumble across some roadblocks?
Candice: I think when you’re building, you have to realize that spending time building anything is sometimes going to take away from something else. So I know that, and I know I’ve experienced it, and I’ve seen other teams experience it where, when you’re focused on building the next step in your business, sometimes your business may experience a bit of a dip, because you’re focusing on the build and the long road. You’re not focusing on the short game; you’re looking at the long game. So when you’re doing that, sometimes you might see that bit of a blip in the graph, which is totally normal, in my experience. Going through that is scary, but coming out the end, you’re so glad you did it, because naturally, you’re doing this to expand your business, or to grow, or to build your team, or to gain more skills, (whatever it is you’re focusing on). But making sure that you’re always focusing on that long game, versus what’s happening right now. I’d say another thing, I wouldn’t say it’s a roadblock, but I would say it’s something that every agent goes through every year, is that you’re only as good as your last sale, or for that matter, your last year. And I find one of the most difficult things to get through every January, which I’m assuming most agents would agree with me, is getting to the end of your year, and going “I had a great year!” And then January 1st comes, and you go “Oh my God. How am I going to do this all over again, and grow the business?” It could be a bit of a roadblock to your mind and your mindset come January, because “Well I did so great last year. How am I going to grow this year?” So it may not be a roadblock, but it’s definitely a mindset game in the beginning of the year, trying to figure out, “So if I did that well last year, how can I do better? And what do I need to put in place to grow again?” So I wouldn’t say it’s a roadblock. It’s more trying to determine how you move forward and grow, and grow every year, because I think that’s the biggest challenge, is doing better than you did the year before.
Glenn: And just like any journey, even if you were going on vacation, you’re looking towards the destination, but you have to get to the airport, you have to stand in line, you have to check your luggage, you have to get transferred from the airport to the resort, and there are just minor roadblocks. But I think if everyone just kept focused on “I’m going to Aruba!” instead of focused on, “Oh my God. What if my baggage is late?” or “I hope the lines aren’t big.” I mean, it’s kind of normal to worry, but I think the long game that you’re talking about is: focus on the destination. And you know what? Stuff’s going to happen, but you just have to power your way through it, because if you want a bigger life and a bigger team and more freedom, you’ve got to be working on your mindset, too.
Glenn: So, what specific action steps would you suggest? What’s one or two action steps for someone listening right now to just do in the next 24 hours that would get them on the path to having a great business in a niche market where they’re bringing their natural strengths to a tribe of people who really want to work with them?
Candice: Look at your life in a 24-hour period and go, “What did I love about the last 24 hours? What brought some energy? What made me passionate about what I was doing?” Because I think a lot of people spend so much time in their daily routine being like, “This is my daily routine. This is all I do every day” that they get bored. But there are specific pieces in your day or things that you’ve done throughout the last couple days that you absolutely love. Figure that out. We don’t have to do things that we don’t like. And I think people focus too much on that. “Ugh. This is part of my job I don’t like.” Focus on what you love. You know, for me, right now, we’re planning our next client event, and I love planning events, and so this is exciting to me. I get to plan an event, have 200 clients in front of me, and all of a sudden, I’ve now had face time with 200 clients that were reminded that we love to love our clients. And that is my only goal with this client event, is to make sure my clients know how much we love them. And I love that part of my day. That part of my day gives me excitement. It makes me passionate because I get to do some event planning. It gets me excited because I get in front of my clients. So consider what you love. And it might be golfing. You might get excited because three days a week in the summer, you golf. Well, at your golf club, you have a whole bunch of buddies that all have friends of friends who all probably need to buy a house. So why not focus on your golf club membership? Or for that matter, you might be at a boxing gym, and you go to your boxing gym four days a week. Well everybody you’re in class with are not the same people, so why not create connections because you absolutely love to box? Or you’re a gardener and you love gardening. Or you’re a landscaper. Whatever it might be, just focus on it and look at it and go, “How can I create a business out of the people I’m surrounded by and the things that I love?” I think it’s hard at first, but once you’ve figured it out, it’s a no-brainer, because it’s something you do, and somewhere that you always are, so why not work on it? Why not turn it into business? I have a friend who loves Scotch, and so he brings people together once a month to drink and talk about Scotch. None of them are realtors. They’re all past clients and friends who start bringing new friends, and they drink Scotch and smoke cigars. And I was like, “Well you may not want to talk real estate specifically and change the mood or the dynamic of the evening, but you can have one on one conversations and start getting personal with these people, and turn that into a way to create business.” Because he loves Scotch, and he does it once a month. He hosts it at his house. I’m like “You need to turn that into your business.”
Glenn: Yeah. I mean, he could add the Scotch, Cigars, and Wealth Building session to it quite easily, once every three months, or once in six months, and you bring in great people who want to talk about wealth. Or he can talk about building wealth through real estate. I mean, you can almost theme those things too, right? But it’s great. You get a bunch of people with common interests who all like, trust, and enjoy your company, and it’s just such a fantastic way to grow your business. And I think the advice you just gave earlier was such great advice. You love to show your clients and let them know how much you love them, and I think that’s just fantastic advice for aspiring agents who want to create their own niche market. So, just as we’re wrapping up here, is there anything else you’d like to add or questions that I didn’t ask you that you could share with our audience? I know, listening to you, I’m getting a lot of value from this right now.
Candice: Sure. I think that the niche we focus on, referrals and repeat, should be a niche that every agent focuses on. They don’t have to go to the extent that we do, and the systems that we have in place for talking to our clients at least 33 or 40 times a year, which is what we do. But I think that remembering that your clients are working with you for a reason, and they’ve been with you for three or six months – they’ve gotten to know you, they haven’t left you, so they must like you – so why not on the side, build that small repeat and referral business on your own? It doesn’t have to be to the extent that we did, but still treat them as though they’re part of your life after the transaction’s done, because chances are, that person or those people that bought from you are going to purchase or sell again within the next 3-5 years, because I think most people buy and sell anywhere between 3-5 times in a lifetime. But so do their kids, and their parents, and everybody else that’s revolved around that one person. So I think that while working through their niche and looking at their sporting events or whatever they’re considering, still take into account that repeat and referral is probably the biggest part of anyone’s business who really works on it. And this one’s an easy one to get started with.
Glenn: Wow. You know, Candice, you are amazing, and I want to thank you so much for joining me. As I’m listening to you, I can just feel your love and joy for what you do and serving your clients at such a deep level. It’s no surprise to me that so many people refer so many other people to you on your team, and you’re growing such an amazing business. So Candice, I just want to say thank you so much for joining me, and you’re just awesome. You’re the best. Thank you, Candice!
Candice: Thank you so much, Glenn. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you.
Closing: Thank you for listening to my 20-minute podcast on Insights of Successful Niches. My goal is to give you more financial freedom by helping you take your natural strengths to a target market of people you’d love to work with. You could find out more information by downloading my book for free for a limited time. The book’s called “The McQueenie Method: Own Your Niche, Own Your Market” and you can download it at TheMcQueenieMethodbook.com. That’s TheMcQueenieMethodbook.com. Imagine what it’d be like to spend two days with me in person to help you find your niche market. I will help you take your natural strengths and unique abilities to a target market of people you’d love to work with. You’ll build a tribe of happy clients who become raving fans of your business. So, just go to TheMcQueenieMethod.com for upcoming dates. Thanks again and have a great day.