Episode 12: 25 Minute Coaching Call with April Almeida
Glenn: Well welcome, everybody, to the 25-Minute Coaching Podcast. It’s this new series I’ve created, and the whole idea behind it is to talk to individual agents and take seemingly complex issues or big challenges and obstacles – or it might be, you’ve hit this ceiling of your potential and you can’t seem to break through it – and solve that within 25 minutes. And on top of that, also create a blueprint so that you can double your income. So I’m really excited today, because I have April Almeida on the line. How are you doing, April?
April: Good, Glenn. How are you?
Glenn: I’m good. Thank you so much for joining us today. Can you just tell us a little bit about you – like how long you’ve been in the business, where you work, who you work for? Just give our listeners a little background about you.
April: Sure. Thanks for having me. My name is April Almeida. I am a real estate agent here in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I’m getting into my sixth year, and anyone who’s looking in this area can reach out to me at aprilalmeida.com, or my number is 289-260-4300. I am with Keller Williams Complete here in Hamilton. I just joined, just moved in here to this brokerage, and I serve residential. And as of the last two years, I’m very focused in residential investment as well. I love the business. I love serving my clients, and I’m here to boost things a bit.
Glenn: Alright. Well that was perfect, April. And can you just spell your name or your email so people on the phone can, (if they were trying to write it down), can reach out to you by email if they want?
April: Sure. It’s aprilalmeida.com. My email is basically my name – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn: Perfect. Thanks. Okay, so what’s the biggest challenge and obstacle that you’re facing right now in your real estate career?
April: For me, right now, I’m in a growth pattern, so it’s a good place. I’m definitely building the business. It’s doing good. I have consistency in buyers and in investment buyers as well, so that aspect is fantastic. My lead follow-up is very quick. But garnering new listings and getting more, well not necessarily more – at this level I’ve got a young family, so managing too many is not on my map right now – but just getting more regularly. Consistency with getting listings is, for me, frustrating.
Glenn: Okay. So tell me a bit more about that. Do you have no listings for a period of months? Or you just have one in a month and then sometimes you get overwhelmed and you have five in a month? Just tell me a bit more about that.
April: Well this year, I had a very good spring. And actually, I started the year well with one right out of the box in January, so that was great. May, I had about five in one month. I don’t go longer than a month without one – a month or six weeks. But ideally, I would love to have two to three a month all the time. That’s my mini goal right now, moving into the New Year. Currently I can manage, because generally the month or two before, I’ve had multiples. That’s great. But I don’t know if it’s just a mindset thing that if I don’t have consistency every month that I’m not doing well? I’m up and down, but it doesn’t go too long. It used to. Obviously I’m a little more consistent now where it is growing, but I’d like to take that much higher.
Glenn: Okay. Well one of the great things, (and I know I talked about this in my book), is this really cool concept called “How to get four additional transactions from every new listing you take.” Because I always find that whenever you get on a roll in real estate, it’s usually because you’ve taken a listing or you’re working with a buyer who referred you to somebody else who then referred you to someone else. And as you get busier, you’ll start to watch that deals just start to fall on your lap. And then when you’re not busy, you go into a slump – the opposite happens, where it’s almost like everything you touch turns to crap. It’s the weirdest thing. And I don’t know why it works that way in real estate, but it’s just been my experience. So I would think that one of the best solutions for this is just to slow down the listing process in order to speed up the amount of leads that you’re going to get for every listing you take. So an example would be, before you put the listing out, put a sign up on the lawn with the “Coming Soon” banner on it (which other people have done) – but they missed the important piece, which is info boxes. Do you know what the info boxes are, April?
Glenn: Yeah. It’s the white plastic boxes. And they’re either see-through, or you can hang them on the bottom. And they used to be really popular about 15 years ago, and they just stopped. But what we’ve noticed now is that the research is showing us that 88% of buyers of listings will drive by the listing (because they found it on the Internet or their agent sent it to them), prior to actually coming and seeing the property. So whether it’s before, it’s what we call “pre-marketing” (a week or two of pre-marketing), so it’s not on the Internet. They’re not going to find it there. But even when it is listed, a lot of them will just go on realtor.ca and then do a drive-by. And so what I want to try to do is capture them when they’re driving by. And the easiest way to do that is to have an info box that basically has all of the details of the listing – it includes the price, the details, and the fine details. And then on the back, you put some offer. And the simplest offer I’ve seen is, “If you’re looking for homes in this area, I’m happy to send you a free list of the Top 10 Best Homes in this area. No cost. No obligation.” Because what agents try to do is they play this tricky game with the public, where they’ll put all the information, but they’ll omit the price, because they want them to call them. And I’m just like, “Can we get past that? That sounds like 1980 to me.” People want information. And people will do most of their research by themselves. And if you can position yourself in the marketplace that you’re the provider of information, and there are no gimmicks, then people will tend to work more with realtors like that. And it’s almost like this duel. You’ll see some training classes out there say, “When someone calls and asks what the price is, ask him what price range they’re looking in.” And I’m like, “Oh, God. Just stop it. Just answer their questions.” So if we can, slow down the marketing and put the “Coming Soon” sign on the lawn with the info box. And then before the listing comes out, I always like to deliver 25 flyers either side of the house and 50 across the street and invite everyone to a sneak peek agent’s Open House. Have you ever tried that before?
April: No, I haven’t.
Glenn: Oh, it is so much fun. And it depends on the area you’re working in, because I’ve had as many as 80 people show up at that, and I’ve had as few as two. It really depends on how tightly connected the neighbourhood is. It’s sometimes harder on a busy street. But if you’re in a good neighbourhood, you’ll tend to get a lot more people. So it’s just a little postcard. I tend to deliver them on the Monday, and you just knock on the door, and if they’re home, you just invite them to a sneak peek neighbours-only wine and cheese on Thursday night before the listing goes out on the Friday. On the postcard, it’s really easy. You just go, “You’re invited to the sneak peek Open House. We often find that neighbours have friends and family looking in the neighbourhood, and here’s your chance to beat other agents and other buyers to the home, so please come by Thursday from 7-9 p.m. for a wine and cheese.” And it’s awesome. You will find out everything. I know most of the areas now, but if I don’t know a neighbourhood, it’s fantastic, because I’ll go, “What do you like about this neighbourhood?” And people are like, “Oh, I love the schools.” And I was like, “Oh, which school?” and they tell you. So now you’ve learned what the good schools are and you can learn the whole background. But it actually turns out to be a bit of a kitchen party. And if you can, you need four bottles of white, four bottles of red, a case of water, and the cheese platter. So it’s about $150. And then what I like to do is have my laptop and a projector, or just an iPad, where people can search MLS by themselves, and I’ll show them how to do it. And I just find it’s a great way for people to come in. They’re checking out the house, and they’re checking you out, and you really get to build some momentum on the listing before it actually goes out to the market.
April: Great. What a great idea. Awesome.
Glenn: Yeah. And then when it goes on the market, you allow showings on the Friday, and you do your weekend Open Houses. I also like weeknight Open Houses. Most people don’t do them, but a lot of people are busy on weekends. And I find that from 5-8 p.m. during the week, if it’s an empty house and they’ll let you do it, you’re going to get a lot of people stopping by, because weekends, where we traditionally hold them open, some people are just too busy. They’re doing groceries and shopping and their kids’ sports and kids’ activities and visiting family and stuff like that.
April: Yeah. Great.
Glenn: So what we’re trying to build, actually, is almost this idea that every listing we take, there are seven really easy transactions that you can get from it, okay?
Glenn: So if you want to get a pen, you can write these ones down. But the first easiest transaction that you can get is you could find a buyer for the property. They could come through the Open House, through the sneak peek, through Internet lead-generation, Facebook pages, whatever. But you can find a buyer.
Glenn: The second is, they come to that house, but they don’t like that property, so you find a buyer for another property. So that’s two easy transactions. The next one would be, (if you do a great job on that street), to get another listing on the street, because you’ve met most of the neighbours who came through your sneak peek Open House. So you get another listing in the street. Or, if you’re doing Open Houses on the weekend, and people come a little bit further from just being off the street, you can get another listing in the neighbourhood. So there’s four super easy transactions, right? The fifth one is, you can find a home for the seller, because they usually have to move somewhere. The sixth would be, you could get a referral from the seller because you did such a great job on their property. And the seventh is, if you do find a buyer, you could get the backup property for that person. So those are seven really simple transactions, that if you start to focus on next year, you’re going to watch how many more transactions you actually get, because now you’ve got a scorecard. You could put it up on your wall, and go, “Okay. My goal here is every new listing I get, I get three more transactions.”
April: Awesome. Definitely doable, That’s for sure.
Glenn: Yeah. It’s pretty easy, right?
Glenn: Because you control it. And the biggest challenge I find is that a lot of agents will list a property (they don’t do any of this), it goes on MLS, and then right out of the blue the next day, they get an offer on the property. So I’ll meet them in my office, and they’ll tell me they’ve just listed a place. The next day I see them, an offer’s come in, and they said, “Oh, I sold it!” And there’s part of me – I’m really happy, I’m delighted for them because they’ve got a transaction – but I want to seriously kick them in the shins because you just blew it, right? You don’t have anybody on your shelf.
April: Yeah. That’s true. We’ve had, in Hamilton, a fantastic market – consistent. So yes, I completely see where, had I been implementing this already…
Glenn: Yeah. Well, and it’s so cool. I’d always get people to hold off on offers for a week. And some people say, “Oh, well Glenn, this isn’t an area for offers. This isn’t where you hold back multiples.” And I’m like, “You know, all the research seems to show that the seller gets the most money for their house between Day 6 and Day 8 of the listing period” (because it’s been out long enough. It’s been circulated). You’ve got enough showings. And yeah, we do get bully offers, or sometimes you can sell it in the first day, but I always think that the seller – although they might be happy, because they’ve got young kids and they don’t want their house on the market anymore and I totally get that, and if that’s what they want then you’ve got to work for your seller – but I’m sure most of them privately sit there and go, “I wonder if we could have got more money?”
April: Yeah. That’s true. And we do hear that, obviously. We do. That’s fair.
Glenn: Yeah. So I think if we can set it up in such a way that it’s a week or two to pre-market it, then we do the sneak peek, then we have the public Open Houses, we allow all the showings, and we hold off offers until the following Wednesday or Thursday – to me, it’s become the winning recipe. And I can’t tell you the amount of people I’ve coached, that the moment they actually started doing that, they started getting three additional transactions. And I think for you, if you’re getting a listing in one month, or sometimes you have three listings – once you get to five, this is a little bit difficult for you to do. Wouldn’t you agree?
April: Yeah. Yes, absolutely.
Glenn: Yeah. You don’t get enough time, right?
April: That’s true.
Glenn: But what if you knew for sure that you could average two listings every month, and that was going to generate between three and six additional deals for you? What would that do for you? And what would you think would be your next big challenge that you’d have to deal with?
April: Well, in thinking day to day, and getting that amount daily, obviously would be branching out and getting some help, or expanding myself into a team aspect, I think, and I’ve thought about that. But definitely getting assistance to maintain that consistency. And that would be fantastic. That’s the goal. Absolutely.
Glenn: Yeah. Because I think the transition for most agents, and the game they want to play is, we start as rugged individualists. It’s like, “I’m going to do everything.” But then they find that there are parts of the transaction they’re so good at – whether it be getting listings or getting offers accepted, or removing conditions and negotiating. That’s really what the consumers are paying us the big money for. It’s not putting the lock box on, doing the feature sheets, doing all the other 150 things that have to get done every time you list a property. So I think as you start to progress through this next year, and you start going, “Wow. I’m just getting busier and busier,” it’s not a bad problem to have. So don’t be like, “Oh my God!” – all freaked out.
April: No. I’ll take it happily. That would be lovely. And I definitely foresee it and I’ve read up on planning for that. So, absolutely. That’s the end goal here, at least at this stage – to build up to that and beyond.
Glenn: Yeah. And a great exercise to do, too, is on a sheet of paper, write down everything that has to get done every time that you list a property. Just lay it all out on a sheet of paper, and then put an asterisk next to the stuff that you love to do; that’s your Unique Ability (that you’re really good at and you do it better than anyone else). So what parts are you really good at? Better than anyone else? And then what you do is circle the rest of it, and that becomes the job description for the assistant that you’re going to hire to take over all that part of your business.
April: Oh, wow. That’s awesome. Wow. I would’ve not thought of that, but that’s brilliant.
Glenn: So what are the 6-8 things that you’re super unique at that you love doing every time you get a listing?
April: Oh, goodness. I’ve got to think through now. Well, my interaction with my clients, obviously, and mapping it out for them (the process) and getting them comfortable with the process. That’s my pre-marketing thing. That’s great. I hate paperwork. I hate having to get in there and submit everything to the office and make sure everything’s together properly. Photos: not fun. But the marketing aspect, I do like. And for me, even just the interaction with people and the follow-up and the face-to-face and what not. That’s where my skill is. That’s where all my testimonials will come back. “Oh, she was wonderful. She made us feel comfortable. We knew everything that was going to happen.” Even when things got bumpy, they felt good that they could always contact me. My communication with clients – being able to be on the ball with that when they’re in need. That’s one of my top priorities as well as top skills. So the interaction is my main thing, and getting it there.
Glenn: Right. And that’s probably what gives you energy, too, right? You probably get excited when you have to do the Pre-Listing Consultation.
Glenn: And when you have to do the strategy, right?
Glenn: And when you have to go, “Okay, we’re going to get the house ready. We’re going to get staged. I know this. And here’s what we’re going to do.” That’s your highest value use. But what you’ll find is that if your business grows too much, and you get to five or 10 listings a month, you won’t be able to have that same time with every client, and then you’re going to start feeling weird because your service standard has dropped.
April: Okay. Yeah, that would make sense.
Glenn: Yeah. A lot of people, when they’re thinking about hiring assistants, think it’s going to be a $25,000, $35,000, $45,000 salary, and it really isn’t. That’s what it might look like a year from now – but in the meantime, there’s a lot of people where you can share an assistant for one day a week, and you’re probably going to be paying $15-$20 an hour. So you’re really looking at maybe $160 or $200 a week to get eight hours of someone doing all that work that you don’t like to do.
April: Yeah. Okay. That’s definitely doable, even at this stage. As I keep up with the growth now, that’s absolutely doable.
Glenn: Yeah, because with all the admin stuff – and you’re probably similar to me in a way – if you don’t enjoy doing it, you’re probably not going to do it. Or you’re going to do it, just not with the same energy and zest that you do when you really like doing things, right?
Glenn: And so I always think, whenever we’re taking someone else’s Unique Ability, we’re taking their job, because I know a lot of assistants are like, “Here, give me the project. Let me take it.” And they get so excited about doing all the paperwork and making sure the paperwork’s ready and getting it all set. And we’re like, “Oh my God. How can anyone like that job?” But they love it, right? And that’s when you know you’ve got the right hire. So you could start with a day a week. You could start with two days a week. You could eventually get to a full-time position. And there are lots of courses you could take, like Recruit Select, where you can figure out how to do it. But that’s where your freedom’s going to come. And then the next thing that’s going to happen as your volume keeps increasing is, your buying time, you’re going to start wanting to reduce, because working with buyers is highly unpredictable sometimes.
April: Yes. Very true.
Glenn: It could be 10 hours. It could be 200 hours until someone finds a house, and you get paid the same amount of money.
Glenn: So the whole perfect blueprint for you is, “Here’s what I do really, really well, and I love solving complex problems and dealing with my clients and following up.” And basically you’re the shepherd of the transaction, and you mentioned earlier, that’s where you create your raving fans, and everyone loves you on that part. And then it’s, “How do I backfill my operation now, so that all of the system just gets done whether I’m doing it or not?” If you look at McDonald’s, their staff turnover is 400% a year. I don’t know if you know that, but they know it’s not people-dependent. Their system is system and model-dependent. And they’re like, “We know you’re leaving. But we’re going to train you on our system, and we hope it’s as profitable for us being here as it is for you being here. But we know you’re probably going to move on.” So, it’s really your system that’s giving you the security and not the people, but you initially start with someone to build that system. And then if you got the right hire, who’s got what we call talent and capacity to grow, then that’s the winning formula. And when you actually get a good assistant, I will guarantee you that’s the first step to doubling your income.
April: Wow. Awesome. Definitely something to build on.
Glenn: Yeah, because most agents look at it as an expense. But if you actually looked at it and went, “Okay. If I have to pay someone $35,000, but that could generate $200,000 or $300,000 a year in additional income,” where else could you get that return on investment?
April: Right. Great way to think of that, because it’s absolutely true. We do. All we do is pinch numbers and think about that.
Glenn: That’s right. So what have you heard so far? Just for the people listening, because we talk pretty quick. We go through things. So I always want to hear what you heard.
April: Well, what I heard and took notes on here, writing quickly – slowing down the listing process, which absolutely makes sense. It’s very easy on the buying side, because it all gels into one thing after another, and that process works. But the listing side of it – it’s true. We get so caught up on, “Ah! I got a listing! Great! Let’s go!” And “Let’s get it sold quickly,” and we really don’t sit down and slow down with that. So to get seven transactions or to have that potential for seven transactions from one listing is just phenomenal – even just to have that mindset going into every listing. I tack things up on my wall. That’s what I do. I’ve got a dry erase board full of pipeline leads and things printed out on what to do – and to have that put in front of me and check mark off on things and do that per listing is just a wonderful way to go into it. Now I definitely am already thinking differently about my next listing and taking apart every detail of the listings and putting that asterisk beside what I love to do. That’s brilliant. I wouldn’t have even thought of that. You don’t really focus on what you love to do because you’re just doing it and you are pumped with energy. So to have that in front of me is great – growing, moving forward. I’ve toyed with the idea of an assistant or someone to help with the stuff that I can’t stand. Ironically, I started as a real estate admin, so I definitely know what it takes and I grew from there as well. So it’s something to definitely work towards. Absolutely.
Glenn: Yeah. Another way to look at this is, when you’re in your Unique Ability – actually listing properties and counselling people and negotiating and removing conditions and firming up deals – that could be worth $200-$1000 an hour. That’s actually what that skill is worth in the marketplace right now.
Glenn: Most agents (especially because we have so many new people right now), don’t have those skills. Doing a feature sheet or entering stuff into your customer database – that might be worth $20 an hour. Showing a home might be worth $100 an hour or $50 an hour. Doing an Open House, depending on how good you are, (I know some people who their whole career is just getting leads from Open Houses), is a $200-$1000 an hour Open House. So it’s really not about working more to double your income. If you were to look at a week, and you’re like, “I’m going to work 40 hours this week. How many more hours can I get at between $200-$1000 an hour? And how many fewer hours can I spend in $15 per hour activities and hire somebody to do it?”
April: Wow. Great. Yes, definitely.
Glenn: That’s the magic formula, right?
Glenn: Because most realtors, in their week, maybe 30-40% of their week is in frustrating, irritating time because they’re just doing stuff that they don’t like to do, right?
Glenn: And maybe only 20% is their super Unique Ability. So it’s just the transfer of that. And that’s what we found to be the winning formula. And if you look at where the real estate industry is going, the single agent is dying off, because their market share is being eroded. Not only because there are a lot more agents and you lose good clients because someone’s husband has just got their license or daughter’s boyfriend or whatever, but the expectation of the public right now is that it’s speed. If they text you and you don’t reply in five or 10 minutes, people are offended, right?
Glenn: So what you’re seeing is more and more big teams dominating real estate, and they’re just taking their unfair share of the market, because a team is really a group of people in their Unique Ability all the time.
April: Hmm. Good. That’s neat. Yeah, that’s true.
Glenn: Yeah. So that’s the winning formula. Does that give you an idea? Do you have a bit of a blueprint then on what to follow?
April: Oh, absolutely. I’m going to be typing this all up and it’s going to be all around me. I’m one of those note-takers, and I’ve got to print it out and make it look good and put it in front of my face so I can see it every day. But it helps, so that’s fantastic.
Glenn: Well I’m very excited for you, and I think you’re going to be well on your way to doubling your income next year when you change your focus and start looking at, “Okay, this is where I actually make my money, and this is where I get my energy from.” Because when you’re doing something you love, you’ve got energy. And when you’re doing something you don’t like, you just have no energy, right? So you procrastinate on it. So I’m very excited for you. I think we’ve got a bit of a blueprint for you to operate on, and thank you so much for taking the time on this call.
April: Thank you so much, Glenn. Thank you very much!