Episode 2: Secrets of Successful Niches - Dean Jackson
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: Hello and welcome to my Success Series podcast. I’m Glenn McQueenie, and I’m so happy and honoured to have my special guest, the one and only Dean Jackson, join me today. How are you doing, Dean?
Dean: Wow. I’m fantastic. That’s quite a nice intro there.
Glenn: Well, you know, Dean, we’ve known each other for probably almost 20-22 years now, and you’ve had such a profound impact on my life with all of your coaching and wisdom, so I’m just so honoured that you’ve taken the time to come and join me so that we can help these listeners just really learn the value of why a niche market is so important. And it really is a kind of future for most real estate agents today.
Dean: Yeah, I’m excited. It’s great to see you out podcasting here. I love it.
Glenn: Thanks. So just for our listeners, can you give us a minute or two about yourself, Dean? Just tell us a little bit about yourself, and then we’ll get right into it.
Dean: Sure. You mentioned we’ve known each other for over 20 years now. I started out as a real estate agent in Halton Hills, just outside of Toronto. And when we met, probably in ’93 or ’94, my passion was really marketing, and applying marketing to my real estate business. And then from there, creating systems that I could then share with other real estate agents. And when Joe Stumpf and I met up, we partnered up and built a big real estate coaching organization going all over North America. So it’s been quite a journey. But it’s been my first love, real estate, and coupling it with marketing has really been quite an amazing journey.
Glenn: And you’ve done so much now, Dean. The list goes on, from the ilovemarketing.com podcast, which I think is one of the top marketing podcasts in the world, to your most recent one now, which is morecheeselesswhiskers.com, which I just love what you’re doing on that, because you’re really talking to people who have used your other program, which is, I think, Breakthrough DNA, using all your 8 Profit Activators, and then you’re interviewing them to see how it’s really affected their business. And I’d encourage everybody to go to morecheeselesswhiskers.com or ilovemarketing.com.
Dean: Yeah, exactly. There are so many things, but you mentioned More Cheese Less Whiskers as a podcast, and there’s actually an interesting thing. We talked about niche marketers. I actually did an episode with a guy who’s a realtor in the south of France selling ultra high-end homes in Saint-Tropez, and we talked about that whole niche. But that really is the way things are going. I’m just excited to see you getting on that path of spreading the word about focused niches, rather than just kind of being a real estate agent, hoping to get enough business in the general market. But choosing a niche and taking control of it – that’s a message that you’re really helping to get out there.
Glenn: Yeah, you know it really is my rallying call to the industry, because I think so many agents are so short-focused all the time, chasing their next deal instead of really building a business, and a long-term business. And I think the best way to do it is just by dominating one single niche or single target market, the way you talk about it in your 8 Profit Activators.
Dean: At a time. I want to add that – at a time – because you can have multiple niches, but treating it more like Procter & Gamble, where they’re independent brands, where you’ve got, specifically for that niche, they feel like you’re the one that understands them more than anybody else.
Glenn: Right. And when I’ve been teaching this, and both of my books that I’ve published, I’ve gone through your company, 90-Minute Books, and when I’m kind of spreading the word around, I always refer to your company, because I really believe this product that you’ve developed, where someone can really do their own book in 90 minutes. And you’ve developed such a great system for that. I think today, it’s almost like the book is the new business card, and so many people feel overwhelmed about that whole idea. But I think, and what I’m really excited about talking about today, is just how you can be creating content for your niche. And part of that content could be creating your own book. So can you just tell me a little bit about your journey into creating 90-Minute Books?
Dean: I break things down to the components, right? So in order to, we talked about my Profit Activators. One of those is selecting a single target market – that’s Profit Activator 1. And Profit Activator 2 is compelling your prospects to raise their hand; to call you. Not going out and cold calling or prospecting people. So I am always focused on, “how can we get people to come to you, rather than you having to go out and chase them?” And so the thing that I found that works better than anything is tapping into self-interest. And that means that somebody sees something valuable, like a book, which has so much historical context, as being something that is indisputable in terms of an authority piece. You know, you think that books are valuable. Just try to get somebody to throw out a book or tear up a book, you know? We’re so conditioned that we revere books as a society, so to have written a book is a badge of expertise. And if you title a book to tap into the self-interest that your target audience has, it’s so easy to get people to raise their hand. And then you can, in Profit Activator 3, educate and motivate them. But the thing about the 90-Minute Book, the reason that they’re small books that are easy to consume, and they are, what I would call, the minimum viable product level of a book. And there’s a whole thing in start-up culture about the lean start-up, and one of the concepts that they have is creating the minimum viable product or the minimum effective dose of something. So if you’re going to use a book as a lead-generator, which is really the most valuable thing that you can use it for, what’s the minimum effective dose to get the result that you’re looking for, which is to turn an invisible prospect into a visible prospect – somebody that you’ve never met or heard of, that they raise their hand and identify themselves? So with that, the thing that’s most important is that you have a book, that you have a title, that upon reading it, the person you want to be in conversation with, says, “I want that book. That’s the book for me.” And, you have a way for them to get it. Now if you have those three things, it doesn’t matter if the book is 50 pages or 250 pages, because as soon as somebody asks for it, the book has done its job. And now, you can engage in a dialogue with somebody. So going beyond that minimum effective dose of writing or doing more than 50 pages for a lead-generation book, it’s not what I call ‘making the boat go faster.’ It’s not adding anything. It’s not going to get more response because you have 250 pages and you took 9 months to write the book, then you’re going to get by carefully thinking through, “What’s the title of the book that my audience would love to have?” and then spending 90 focused minutes on creating the starter conversation – the conversation that’s just going to establish you as the expert and lead people to the next step, which is to be in a relationship with you.
Glenn: Right. I love how you say the minimum effective dose, because I always think about books, and I’m a very prolific reader like you are. And most books, there’s this standard of 250-300 pages, and someone just made it up, like, “That looks like it’s enough to create value.” But we know that every book, really, the top 20%, you know within 50 pages, they could condense any book ever written down to 50 great pages, and that would be enough.
Dean: And it would be better if they did that. How many books have you read that you could get the point across in 50 pages and the rest of it is just fluff and filler and enough to add it all up? You know it’s interesting, Glenn. I saw in The New York Times there was a big feature about the state of books, and because with Kindle and Kobo now with all these readers, they have access to the data on how much of these books are actually being read. Because more than half, I think it was 57%, Glenn, of people who buy a book never open it. So they buy it on their Kindle, they grab it, and then they never open it. And some small number, only 20% or just over 20% of people actually read beyond 100 pages – and that’s in a bestseller. So I think there’s something to that. If you can, condense your idea into a really great foundation to lead enough so that somebody wants to take the next step.
Glenn: Right. And I’ve thought this many times, that the winning book for many people who are listening to this right now would be something like “The 12 Secrets to Buying Your First Home in ____” (their neighbourhood). I think a city’s too broad sometimes, but in Midtown, Downtown. “The 12 Secrets to Buying Your First Condo in Downtown Toronto.” And I think the more that you focus it, first of all I think the more reception you’re going to get on the book. But when I’d talked to you previously, you said really that book is like a one-hour buyer consultation that’s recorded and published. Because all the buyers and sellers, there’s probably 10-20 questions that they’re going to ask us. Every client will ask us the same ones. So what if we could just hit those top 10 or 12 questions, and then instead of doing a 1-hour interview with somebody, you could have 3,000 people download the book, and you’ve done 3,000 1-hour interviews?
Dean: That’s exactly it. You’re right on. And you don’t need more than that to get somebody engaged enough to want to take the next step. And it’s the most important. I mean, let’s think about what the reality is, that in the real estate business, the thing that we’re ultimately looking for is to help somebody find a house and buy it, and to help somebody sell their house – to find a buyer and sell their house. Those are the two core things that we actually get paid for. That’s the result that we’re creating. And so, just leading into that, if you can get more people started in the conversation, that’s a really cool thing to do.
Glenn: The more people you’re having conversations with, I think the law of numbers would just have to work in your favour, where you’re going to be generating more leads and more appointments, and more signed contracts and more revenue, and building a bigger business.
Dean: That’s it, exactly. Yeah, you’re reverse engineering. What has to happen from there?
Glenn: So what changes have you seen in the real estate industry just over the last couple years, as far as lead-generation and marketing’s changed. What’s the biggest change?
Dean: Well it’s certainly happening. We’ve seen the evolution, where, 25 years ago, when I created the guide to Halton Hills, the Halton Hills real estate prices, there was no Internet, no email. It was just print advertising, offering a book that was valuable to people who are considering moving out to Halton Hills. And then we’ve seen the evolution where when everything went online, it was, if you were ahead of the curve, to be able to say, “Search all the homes online.” That was a valuable differentiator so that people could go and do that. But now, you’ve seen it evolve that every piece of information about every house is available now, and everybody knows that it’s available. So just being able to say, “Hey, come search all the homes” – that’s over. That’s not what is the value that you create now. Now, the value is about going outside of the algorithm, and being something that the computers can’t provide for people. It used to be, “Hey, get daily updates of all the homes,” or “Get weekly updates of all the new homes that came on the market.” Well everybody has every home the minute it comes on the market on their phone, available to them right now. So that’s not really a differentiator. But if you want to find the best homes in a particular neighbourhood that have some particular attribute that’s a qualitative type of thing, that’s a different situation. And that’s really where we have the opportunity to excel, not just about the data.
Glenn: Yeah. I think it’s really about the value now, the hyper-local wisdom that can’t be Googled anywhere. Because I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been to some parties lately, and people will come up and say, “Hey Glenn, what did that house sell for?” expecting that you would know what every home sold for in your city. And I never know what they sold for. But there’s always Sally at the party who’s not a realtor, who always jumps in and says, “Oh, there were 8 offers on that house. It sold for this much over the asking.” And I’m like, “Great job, Sally. Thanks a million,” whereas that information used to be all ours, right?
Dean: Right. That’s the thing. That’s where it’s not the advantage that it used to be to be the keepers of the information. I remember 25 years ago when the Wednesday paper would come out in Georgetown, that if you were manning the office that night, that the floor calls would be huge, because the Wednesday paper would come out, people would see the new listings, and they’d want to call in and get the information, because there was no other way to get it. Who’s calling anybody about anything anymore? It’s so easy to get that information. But if you can differentiate yourself, we have an opportunity to be a market-maker. That’s really where it is. If you can triangulate, so for example, here in Winter Haven, we would do a guide to Lakefront homes in Winter Haven, and we would be advertising that in print and in Facebook, and wherever people are looking for Lakefront homes. And at the same time, be doing a listing-getting campaign for the Lakefront homes, looking for people who are going to sell their home, and be able to match those people up, triangulating them, that’s where you have the opportunity. Now, you’ve got insider knowledge of access to people who are thinking about buying a home, and you’ve got insider information on people who are thinking about selling their home. Your opportunity then is to match those people up. That’s where you’re adding value, because they don’t have access to that.
Glenn: And it’s invisible, right? Nobody sees it.
Dean: It is invisible. And that’s where having a book gives you the opportunity to get those people to raise their hand.
Glenn: I think most agents feel like they’re market-takers right now, so I love that whole idea of when you go deep into your niche, you have that local wisdom, that you actually are the market-maker, and a market-matcher, too.
Dean: Yes, that’s what it is. That’s what you have the opportunity to do. I point to the example of Molson beer in Canada. They would run an ad in Cosmo magazine with a picture of a guy who looks like a model in a field with these puppies. And it was an image ad, and all the ad would say is “His address: The intersection between masculinity and sensitivity. His beer: Molson Canadian.” And they’d just have the small Molson logo there, you know? And they would run that ad, so that they could run an ad in the men’s magazines that said, “Hundreds of thousands of women pre-programmed for your convenience.” And then they would describe how, while you’re reading this ad, hundreds of thousands of women are reading a completely different ad scientifically designed to increase the attraction they feel to men who drink Molson. And they would show a picture of the ad that they were running in Cosmo magazine. And all you have to do to activate this attraction is to order a Molson beer. So it’s really this masterful triangulation of thinking about, “What does your prospect want?”
Glenn: That’s an awesome story. That’s just amazing.
Dean: Have you heard, Glenn, of Opendoor? Have you seen what they’re doing in the States there?
Glenn: That’s like a minimum bid or guaranteed sale program. I’ve just read an article the other day.
Dean: Guaranteed sale. So they are choosing a niche of the middle of the market: single-family homes after 1960, three-bedroom standard homes in the $150,000-$500,000 price range, and they algorithmically will figure out what the house is worth. And if you want to sell your house, you just call them. They will calculate algorithmically what the price is, and take off 6%, and then a small 6 or 8% risk fee, to give you a guaranteed sale price on your house. Now that is pretty interesting that in Phoenix, they were able to get a 2% market share in a pretty short amount of time. So for some people, that’s really what they want. But imagine if you could do that same thing for a specific niche. If you’re the person that’s controlling the market, or a certain segment, and you are also then finding the buyers for that, you get the opportunity to be the dream come true for those sellers.
Glenn: And you’re just matching them up, one by one. Yeah, it’s so interesting, the potential disrupting technologies. And I know billions has been spent on it, but my sense is that we might be losing the first 50 or 60 or 70 yards of the transaction, but I think we’re still holding the last 30, which is really the most important part.
Dean: That’s exactly it. I go to see Peter Diamandis, and I go to his Abundance 360 events, and I see that what we have the opportunity to do is control the last hundred feet.
Glenn: And I think that the more local wisdom and knowledge you know, you get out of being a commodity. Just being in a niche, you couldn’t be a commodity. But I think the more hyper-local you’re in there with that unique knowledge, I just think that’s the long-term protection plan for realtors these days.
Dean: Yes. Absolutely.
Glenn: So why do you think the conventional wisdom of the two hours of lead-generation and cold calling and door-knocking is wrong? Or the prospecting-based business? Whereas, your 90-Minute Books really is about targeting a niche market. Tell me about that.
Dean: Well I think that there’s just so much more leverage in it. First of all, who are you going to reach on the phone nowadays anyway, right? I mean, doing the outbound prospecting like that is just so inefficient, especially when there’s ways to reach out much more leveraged through specific direct mail, through Facebook advertising, through targeted pay-per-click advertising, print advertising in the right publications – all these things where you can get your audience to raise their hand. It’s just so much more leverage. And that’s been something that I’ve been hammering for 25 years. As soon as you can get out of that outbound prospecting mode, you free up some time to focus creatively on getting somebody to raise their hand. If you invest that 90 minutes to create an asset that, just like you said, you could do 3,000 buyer consultations that way, it’s total leverage. Whereas prospecting is like a hamster wheel – as soon as you stop doing it, it stops working.
Glenn: That’s right. What would be a great first step for someone listening to this podcast to do if they’re thinking about getting their niche in 90-Minute Books?
Dean: I think assessing your market. Thinking through, “Where is it that if I could just wave a magic wand, and have this segment of the market, what would that be?” And I think, not just so much in that it’s townhouses or that it’s condos or that it’s a specific segment of the market, but more of a qualitative type of thing. Something that is outside of an algorithm. Something that requires some sort of education around it. And you could have a niche for parents who want to invest in real estate while their kids are at college. Or first-time buyers who want to buy a multi-family home they can live in, rent out part, and build some equity that way. You start to think outside of the box there. And you start thinking, “What would be the title of the book that somebody in that target audience would definitely want to read?” And that’s a good start. If you could get somebody to raise their hand like that, and ask for that book, now you’ve got an asset. You’ve got a way to start your triangulation, finding those buyers. And then if you can identify the types of homes that would fit for that, and you start a listing campaign in that model, now you’re able to triangulate. That’s really where the value is.
Glenn: I love that if you can get the right title, identify the right market, know what their unique problems are, and create a program or model to solve it, then you really become the algorithm. Because that’s what an algorithm is, right?
Dean: Yes. You are. And it’s unique to you, because it’s something that a computer can’t do. That’s where I looked long-term for the digitization. I mean, for years, nobody would have ever thought that it would be possible for somebody to buy a house sight unseen, like Opendoor is doing. That’s coming. And it’s here now – I mean the artificial intelligence to be able to offset that risk for them, because they’ve got access to all the data in a neighbourhood. So by narrowing to the middle of the market like that, that sort of thing is coming. But if you now have the buyers for that, that just proves that sellers want to do what’s the easiest thing for them. And they’ll often trade off that they’re getting a little bit less, but it’s a guarantee, and they don’t have to deal with the process of selling their house. But if you can get it so that they’re calling you, because you’ve got the buyers, that makes it so much easier. So I think if I can get people to think one thing, it’s to think that way. Think about triangulating. Think about being a market-maker. What would that niche look like for them?
Glenn: Yeah. So pick the niche that you want to work in. Then try to find how we can triangulate it, where we can go after just getting the buyers for that market, and then use your data and pool of buyers to start targeting the sellers. “I’ve got 12 people who are desperate to buy this triplex in this corner of the city, and if you want the no-fuss and no-muss of putting a house on the market, give me a call and we can bring them there right away.” And then expanding that, because then you can start doing complementary neighbourhoods, because people move in pretty predictable patterns. “Here’s where most of the first-time buyers buy, and then here’s where most of them move up, and then here’s when they trophy.” And if you can almost be a market-maker in between there, and it’s this hidden secret market because you dominate your niche, I think it’s a winning formula.
Glenn: Well Dean, thank you so much for joining me. Any last advice that you would love to give anybody about doing their 90-Minute Book? Or just, where do they go if they want to do a 90-Minute Book?
Dean: Yeah. To start the process they can go to 90MinuteBook.com and download a copy of The 90-Minute Book, which is made using The 90-Minute Book process. So you get to see what it’s about, what the result is, and we can take everything from there. I’ve got a whole team standing by to help get that process and make it easy for people.
Glenn: And if people want to know more, too, your podcast, the More Cheese Less Whiskers is a great place where I think a lot of people have done the books, where you get to interview and you can actually kind of see what they’ve done. And I know it’s been transformational in my business. So Dean, thank you so much, you’ve been a great friend, a great coach, and great mentor over the years, and I’m just so honoured you took some time to spend with us today.
Dean: Awesome. Thanks so much.
Glenn: Alright. Thanks.
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.