Episode 10: 25 Minute Coaching with Carole McIntyre
Glenn: Well hello, everybody, and welcome to the 25-Minute Coaching podcast. This series is really about getting together one-on-one with agents, finding out what their biggest challenge and obstacle is, and then solving it, and then figuring out and implementing a complete blueprint so that 12 months from now, these agents will be able to double their income just by focusing on what they already do really well, but just going a lot more deeper on it. So, I’m really excited, because today we have Carole McIntyre on the phone. So hi Carole, how are you?
Carole: I’m great, thank you. How are you, Glenn?
Glenn: I’m doing great. So Carole, can you just tell everyone a little about yourself – where you work, what you do, how long you’ve been in the business for?
Carole: Sure. Yeah. I’m at Keller Williams Energy in Durham, so just east of Toronto. I service mostly Whitby, Ajax, Oshawa, Clarington – that marketplace. I’ve just started my fourth year. Keller Williams Energy is the only brokerage I’ve ever been at, so I love it. And I got my brokerage license this year, and I’m just loving it. I think it’s a great fit for me and I enjoy every bit of it. I love getting up every day and going to work. So that’s me.
Glenn: Perfect. Well that’s exciting. So what is your biggest challenge or obstacle that you’re facing right now that you want to talk about on today’s call?
Carole: I have a few challenges. I’m a bit of a control freak, so I work on my own. I don’t have an assistant, so I’m sure that’s part of a challenge. I’m having trouble with the unpredictability of my business. I think I’m quite fortunate in that already, I’m in a repeat and refer business. I get a lot of work from past clients and friends and people that I know or have dealt with even in other aspects of life, so that’s very flattering that they trust me with the real estate. But it is very unpredictable. So, between that and open houses, it’s more about a steady flow. So those are really my two biggest challenges. And systems – I’m not really a systems person. Right now it’s all in my head and in folders scattered all around my office, so I don’t even think I could get an assistant if I wanted one right now, because I don’t even know how to describe what it is I do. So yeah, there are a few challenges.
Glenn: Okay. That’s going to be exciting. I think we’ll be able to figure them all out. Can you just maybe give me a little more depth on the open house side so everyone listening can know the context of the challenge or opportunity or what you want to improve on your open houses?
Carole: I think the reason I like open houses is because most of the time, they’re fairly warm leads, and I’m a very personable person. So they come in, and I connect with a lot of people right out of the gate, but then the challenge would be the follow-up and the logistics and the systemization of the leads, and tracking the leads and following the leads and following up with the leads. That’s where I lose them. That’s my biggest challenge. So I can go and meet five people, or five different sets of buyers in a day, and think, “Oh, great! I connected with all of them” and then, not forget to call them, but just go, “Oh. I thought we connected. Maybe they were going to call me back?” So that’s part of it, is just taking it from meeting them and having that connection to actually getting out in the car and helping them move forward.
Carole: Does that make sense?
Glenn: Yeah, totally makes sense. And I’m pretty sure it’s going to resonate with some of the people who are listening right now, because they’ve probably got the exact same challenges that you have, right? “What do I do?” Because you’re probably fairly hands-on, that when you get a hot lead, you just want to spring into action and go and help them as much as you can. But you’re also going to deal with the other side, which is, they might not be ready or willing to move at the exact same high speed that you’re ready to.
Glenn: So it’s more about, “How do we slow it down and nurture them and be in their world, so that when they’re ready, you’re ready?” and then you can just go in and do what you do the best.
Carole: Exactly. And how do I not lose them? If they’re not ready today, how do I not lose them?
Glenn: Right. Okay. Okay. Super. So let’s start with the referral side of things. So most of your business is referral and repeat, and kudos to you for that, because what that tells me is that you’re probably coming more from contribution on this, (how you can help these people), and you’re committed to delivering a world-class experience for them.
Glenn: And when people feel that you’re doing that for them, they tend to want to easily refer their friends and family.
Carole: Perfect. Good to hear.
Glenn: Yeah. And what we know from the research is that from all of the people that you meet and do business with, 20% will refer lots of people to you, and 20% will never refer anyone to you. They’re just like, “Hey, thanks. Got the product/service” but then they just go off the grid. It’s not what they do; it’s not who they are. So the big challenge is, “How do we motivate the middle 60% to send you more referrals?” So the first thing I want to talk about is this concept called Referral Chaining. And Referral Chaining is really linking the people who send you the referrals, and then thanking everyone down the chain. So let me just give you an example. If you were recently referred to Bob, and Bob was referred to you from Bill, what most agents do is they’ll pick up the phone and they’ll talk to Bill and go, “Hey Bill, thank you so much for referring Bob. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.” So have you done that in the past?
Carole: Yes, absolutely.
Glenn: Yeah, for sure. But what people don’t realize, (and this is what you could do with your database), is look at where Bill came from, because a lot of times, Bill would have been referred from your other client, Nancy. And then Nancy might have been referred originally from your other friend, Julie. So Referral Chaining is: you don’t stop at Bill – you go all the way back to Julie. So you get the referral from Bob (they came from Bill). I don’t want to confuse people with all these names, but after you thank Bill, you then call Nancy, because Nancy was the person who originally referred Bill to you. And you just have a quick conversation with Nancy. Say, “Hey Nancy. It’s Carole calling. Just want to say thank you so much. When you referred Bill to me, we found him a great place. But you’re not going to believe what happened! Bill just referred one of his colleagues, Bob, to me. And none of this would have happened without you. So I just wanted to call and say thank you so much. You’re amazing.”
Carole: Perfect. Okay, great. That’s a great idea.
Glenn: And then you pick up the phone and you call Julie. And you say, “Hey Julie, remember when you referred Nancy to me and then Nancy referred Bill? Well Bill just referred Bob. And none of this would have happened without you, and I just want to call to say how grateful I am, and thank you so much.”
Carole: Okay, perfect. That makes sense.
Glenn: And then what happens when you call and make people feel good – and you don’t call and go, “Do you have any other referrals for me?” – what you’re actually doing is you’re rewarding people for the behaviour that you want to get from your client base. So what’s going to happen is, I will guarantee you that within a week or two, you will get another referral from Julie, and you’re going to get another referral from Nancy.
Carole: Oh, wow. That’s fantastic.
Glenn: Yeah. It’s really cool. So for those people listening, and also for yourself, just take a look at your client base, and just try to track them back and try to connect chains to where they originally came from. And then every time you get a new referral, you go back and thank everyone for the behaviour they just demonstrated that you want to reward, and then people will just do it again.
Carole: Excellent. And so you always call as opposed to a handwritten note? I mean, obviously I would never email, but you prefer a phone call to a note or a pop by with a gift? Or what do you find, in your experiences, work the best for you?
Glenn: I think the phone call is still the most powerful way for you to communicate it. It’s wonderful to send a thank you note, and someone will open that thank you note, and for that 10 seconds, will go, “Whoa. That was really nice of her to send it,” but then it’s gone, because another piece of paper got shoved on their desk or their kid called, or something happened and they’ve forgotten about it. So I find the connection that happens through a telephone call is by far the best way to go about this.
Carole: Wow. Okay. That’s good to know. I’m actually a bit of a phone phobic. I rarely call people. So this is good to know. This is probably pointing out another weak spot in my business plan. Okay. Good.
Glenn: Well, but even most phone phobics don’t have a hard time calling somebody when they’re calling to say, “Thank you so much.”
Carole: Exactly. Yeah, I’m fine when I have a purpose. So there’s definitely a purpose in this, so that’s great.
Glenn: Yeah, but you’re not chit-chatty just for no reason, right? It’ll drive you nuts.
Carole: Exactly. Yeah, exactly.
Glenn: But when you call, then it’s an amazing thing. So that’s the number one way I would probably start. And increasing the steady volume of referrals is just, every time you get one, go deeper on the chain.
Carole: Okay, excellent.
Glenn: And the second thing I would do, (and this is a perfect time of the year to do it) is in Toronto, we have the One of a Kind Show that’s this weekend, I believe, and next week down at the Exhibition Place. And I know there’s going to be people listening across North America, but you will have certain shows at certain times of the year, and it’s the best way for you to reach out for every show and just touch your clients. And so, I would look at my client base, and I’d call right through it. I’d start with my favourite clients first (my raving fans/amazing people), and then move to my good clients, and eventually move down. It’s your great clients and your ‘goods’ who really get this phone call. The other people who are just like ‘okay’ – well, if you’ve got time, you can call them. So the phone call goes like this. You just go, ring ring, and they answer, and you go, “Hey, how are you, Jim? It’s Glenn McQueenie calling. Just want to let you know I’ve bought you some tickets to the One of a Kind Show. I was just thinking about you because it’s a great place if you want to go and find unique gifts or presents, or even just a great time to get away from everything and go down to see the show. There’s amazing art and crafts and everything.” Have you ever been to that show, Carole?
Carole: Yes I have. Yes, I was there. It was quite a few years ago, but it was fantastic. Yeah.
Glenn: And what I find, actually, is a lot of my clients, (a lot of the girls or a lot of the wives) will all group together and five of them will all go down and just spend the day down there, and inevitably end up drinking a beautiful glass of white wine at 3:00 in the afternoon. So it’s perfect, right?
Glenn: And the whole idea is, you don’t really care if they’re going to go to the show, because that doesn’t matter. It’s completely secondary. It’s just, you’re calling from contribution to say, “I was thinking about you. I remember you. And I’ve bought these tickets.” And you can get them online or whatever, but it’s basically $13 a ticket for the show, $10 if you get them in bulk. But you can also order them by consignment (you might be a bit late because I think the show starts, and so you only get charged). But the whole idea is that then you get to touch your clients three or four times. So the call is, “Do you want the tickets?” If they do, then the next is you do a drop-by and actually hand them the tickets, but don’t go in or anything. Just, “Hi, how are you? Oh, I’m just showing a home in your neighbourhood but I wanted to get these tickets off to you.” And then the next touch, after the show, is to call back and just see how the show was.
Carole: Right. Okay.
Glenn: So it’s your three great touches coming from contribution. And the key here is to never bring up real estate.
Carole: Right. Okay. Do not bring up real estate.
Glenn: Because a lot of people, they’ll go at the end, “Hey, do you know anyone who’s thinking about buying or selling real estate?” And I think you’ve just killed it when you do that, because the whole idea about getting referrals is creating reciprocity with your clients because you’re doing such a great job and great favour for them.
Carole: Right. Totally makes sense. Okay.
Glenn: Yeah. And if you don’t want to do the One of a Kind Show, you can do this anytime in the year, but my target would be everyone who bought in the last 18 months, and it’s called the two-question referral call. And so, the first question is, “How are you?” The second question is, “How’s your home?”
Carole: Right. Great.
Glenn: I think the record on this is I had one of my coaching clients who called 37 past clients and asked those two questions and got 17 referrals from them.
Carole: Oh my gosh. That’s amazing.
Glenn: Very cool. And the whole context of the call has to be set up properly. So if you’re my client and you just bought, say, six months ago, I would be like, “Oh hey Carole, it’s Glenn calling. How are you doing?” So just play along here with me.
Carole: I’m doing great, thanks.
Glenn: Listen, I’m going through some withdrawal because we used to spend all this time together looking for houses, and so I just wanted to check in and see, how are you doing?
Carole: I’m doing well. I’m settling in, and I love the neighbourhood.
Glenn: Great! And how’s the house? Has there been any surprises or anything?
Carole: No, actually. I think we knew the roof had to be done, so we got that done in the spring, and other than that, it’s been great! We love the neighbours, and we’re really happy here.
Glenn: Oh, I’m so happy for you, because I know how happy you guys were when you first bought that place, so I just really wanted to call and say hi and just make sure everything is going okay. And you need to know that if there’s anything you need, like contractors, or anybody you need, don’t hesitate to give me a call because I’m with you all the way on this. And if it’s okay with you, once you guys get it totally settled in, I’d love to just drop by and see what you’ve done with the place.
Carole: Perfect. That would be fantastic. We’d love to see you again. We were going through a bit of withdrawal. We saw you every day!
Glenn: That’s right. And people love those calls because I’m not asking for anything. And if they say, “Well everything’s great, but the basement bathroom’s not working,” the first thing you should do is say, “Listen, I’m going to send my plumber over right now. This one’s on me. When will you guys be home?” So you’re almost kind of hoping there’s a problem so that you can jump in and fix it really quickly.
Glenn: Yeah, because what I found is when you’re working with a client, all the way up to the closing of the transaction – what you’re doing, they kind of expect. But once it’s closed, everything you do after that moment in time, (most agents don’t do anything, so you don’t really have much competition), you get triple bonus points for every action you do after the closing of the transaction, because what they hear is, “I’m important. You cared. I’m not just another deal to you.” And the reason this works so well is you put your voice and your personality back into their brain, and over the next week or two, when they’re meeting somebody, and so and so says, “Hey, we’re thinking about buying or selling,” not only are you top of mind, but your phone number is at the top of their cell phone. So it’s very easy for them to go, “Oh, you’ve got to talk to Carole. I just talked to her last week and she was amazing. She did such a great job for us. Here’s her cell phone number right now. She’s amazing.”
Carole: Okay. I never even thought of that. That’s great.
Glenn: Yeah. So it’s almost about coming up with really strategic ways to keep in touch with your clients and coming from contribution all the time, because the people you give to – givers give back. There are always going to be clients who just take all the time, but that’s okay. They were never going to send you a referral anyway. But you can just stay up in their mind and just be that legend in their mind, because that’s when they’re going to send you more referrals.
Carole: Fantastic. Good. All great points.
Glenn: Yeah. And then the last thing is, a lot of people have pre-done newsletters where they just insert your name, and then it gets sent out to them.
Glenn: The challenge is, whenever you automate something like that – if you send garbage, you will get garbage back in return.
Carole: Right. Got it.
Glenn: When you call with great things and great ideas, and come from contribution, you will get great things and great ideas coming back to you. So you’ve heard of these Touch 33 programs and you’re supposed to get your newsletters and do all this stuff. Well, the real touch is when you focus on someone as an individual – you think ahead of what they really need, you find it in the marketplace for them, and you call them as a surprise. And that’s when they sit there and go, “You get me. You know me. And thank you so much.”
Carole: Okay. So I do a newsletter. I personally write the whole thing every month.
Carole: The first section is always a personal story, like what’s happening in my life (Carole the person, Carole the mom or whatever). And then it’s all tips and interesting things and odd facts and just, weirdness. And then, really, there’s a touch of real estate at the bottom. Would you be against that, too?
Glenn: No. I think if you’re putting the effort in to do a personal newsletter, people will read it. But I would get away from doing multicolour, and go into canary-yellow paper.
Carole: Actually, it’s only an e-newsletter.
Glenn: Okay. So e’s good. Do you have a way of tracking the unique opens on that newsletter? Do you know who’s opening it?
Carole: I don’t. No, I don’t think I do. At least, I’ve never looked. I do get feedback. I mean, every time I send one out, anywhere from 5-15 people will comment on something in there.
Glenn: Perfect. Great.
Carole: And apart from my mom, it’s not always the same 5-10 people, so it’s a mixture. Like, for instance, for Canada Day, instead of sending the standard Canada Day thing, you know, “Happy Canada Day!” I sent what my Canadian story was, and how my grandmother was supposed to be on the Titanic and didn’t go on it. So I talked about all four of my grandparents, and then I said, “What’s your Canadian story?” And then I got back all these amazing stories. “My family fled from Thailand,” and “My family did this.” And it was amazing. So I was really happy with that. So anything that’s personalized is fine?
Glenn: Yeah – and that requires them to act. That’s the key, the more interactive you can make it. And then what I would do, is I would publish the best Canadian stories and then send it back out to all my clients.
Carole: Okay. Cool. Good idea.
Glenn: Yeah. Just ask their permission. Or feature one story every newsletter, and say, “Listen. The response has been overwhelming for these Canada stories and they fill my heart, and I want it to fill yours. So here’s the story from so-and-so.” Obviously you have to get their permission, but anything that says, “You’re important to me, you mean something,” that’s interactive is always the best marketing.
Carole: Okay, perfect.
Glenn: Because what I’m finding right now is, we feel like we’re so connected to everybody, but we’re really very alone in many cases. We all have friends, even on Facebook, who post all the time. “Here’s my coffee. Here’s my ____,” and you know, deep down, they’re the loneliest people right now. So I think to cut through all the clutter, the more personal touch you can do with your clients, the more tied they are to you. Because there’s a really interesting stat. NAR did this big survey of 100,000 sellers, and they asked them the question, “Would you use your agent again?” And 88% said they would do it, yet the actual number is only 22% – only 22% actually use their agent again.
Carole: Wow. That’s insane.
Glenn: Yeah. So that’s the gap. It’s because people just don’t keep in touch. And then you see agents are hurt when their past client from five years ago (who they didn’t keep in touch with), has listed with someone else. And it’s like, “Yeah, well, whose fault is that?”
Carole: Yeah. Exactly.
Glenn: So I know we only have about two minutes left, so I’m just going to talk briefly about open houses, and then I think hopefully you’ll get more of a blueprint to follow. So what I’ve learned with open houses is the key is, “What’s your offer that you’re going to make at an open house?” When people come through an open house, I’m not a big fan of getting everyone to sign in, because I don’t believe in starting a relationship off with a lie sometimes, which is, “For security reasons, show me your driver’s license and sign in.” There are some agents who do, and this is just my opinion, because people, I find, are annoyed when you call them anyway afterwards. So I just welcome them. I go, “Hey, thanks a million for coming in. I really appreciate you taking the time out. Feel free to walk through the house. I’m not going to point out the kitchen or the dining room. I know you’re smart enough for that. But for security reasons, I do have to hover around because I’m responsible. And I’m here if you have any questions.” Great. And then once they finish, the key question to ask everybody is, “What have you done so far?” It’s one, open-ended question. No “Yes,” no “No” answer. And people will say, “Oh, we’ve just started looking” or “Oh, we’re just working with an agent,” or “Oh, we’re just nosy neighbours.” They drop their guard. And then I start thinking, “Well what’s an offer that I could make to start converting these people?” And if they say, “Oh, we just started looking,” the offer I always make is, “Oh, would you like me to send you a free list of the Top 10 homes in the neighbourhood? It’s not cost, no obligation. I’ll send it by email.” And some people say no, and other people go, “Yeah! That’s great.” And the moment they say that is the moment you have permission to go into a buyer consultation. And then there are just the four simple questions: “What is the perfect home, perfect area, perfect time frame, and perfect price?” And then you send it to them. And then in there, there’s another offer that says, “Would you like to go on a free, no-hassle, no-obligation orientation tour? We’re going to see eight homes. You’re not allowed to buy one that day. We’re just going to go out and look. I want to see what your money and expectations are.”
Carole: Okay. Perfect.
Glenn: The more you make it so easy for people to do business with you, the easier it becomes. So you were mentioning earlier about, “I want to follow up with people, but sometimes I feel I’m too aggressive or pushing them too much.” And the way you get over that is to give them an offer. And not everyone’s going to take it. But the people who are ready will take the offer. And then that’s where you start to put your energy towards.
Carole: Perfect. So I’m not just chasing and scrambling after a bunch of people; I’m honing in on the people that are serious now.
Glenn: Yeah. And if you focus on, “I only need to pick up one client per open house” instead of 20 leads, you’ll find that your conversion rate will go up, because it doesn’t matter. You’re just like, “Not you. Not you. Not you. Not you. Not you. You!” Because you’ll start getting attracted to people who have the same mindset and values. They answer questions. They don’t hide things. All the characteristics you like in yourself, you’ll like in other people.
Carole: Okay. That’s awesome.
Glenn: And then the last thing I would tell you is do sneak-peek open houses for every listing. Do them on Thursday nights before the listing goes on the market. Have a wine and cheese for all the neighbours. And it’s okay, if you have time, to do open houses during the week between 6 and 9 p.m., because you’d be surprised at how many people will stop by those open houses.
Carole: Okay. Fantastic. I’ve never tried that.
Glenn: Yeah. So, did you get a pretty good understanding there? Does that give you a bit of a blueprint to follow?
Carole: Absolutely. Lots and lots of scribbling.
Glenn: Okay. Well Carole, thank you for your time on this call. Just stay on the line, though, okay? But I just wanted to really thank you and just say you’re incredible. And I hope that helps. And here’s to Double Your Income in 2016!
Carole: Awesome. Thanks so much, Glenn!