Episode 8: Secrets of Successful Niches - Vivien Sharon
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: Hi! It’s Glenn McQueenie, and thank you so much for joining me for my Success Series podcast. Today I’m just thrilled to have Vivien Sharon join us. How are you doing, Vivien?
Vivien: I’m doing well, thank you. How are you?
Glenn: Oh, I’m great. And listen, thank you so much for taking time to just share your wisdom on the niche market that you’ve created within your marketplace. I’m just thrilled watching your business grow so rapidly, and I know everyone listening will just have a great time as we go on this adventure together. So Vivien, really, her specialty is helping Boomers downsize from their home to their condo in Toronto. So she takes them mostly in the mid-to-high luxury, and then moves them into this place in central Toronto called Yorkville. And what she does is a very careful, hands-on approach to help them find the perfect space for the next part of their future. So whether you’re downsizing due to retirement or life change, or just want to unlock the value of your home and put some money in the bank and travel more, Vivien is just amazing at this. And she started working actually in a successful family property management business and raised a great family, and then she went through this process of really just buying a home, and then downsizing to a condo in Yorkville. And going through that process, I think she realized that, “You know what? No one really has a turn-key, easy solution to help people going through this very unique point in their life.” So that’s what her niche is all about, and I’m so happy to talk about it today. So Vivien, that’s my little bio about you, but if you can, just add or tell me a little bit about your journey into building a really cool niche business?
Vivien: Well, basically I’ve built this business over the past couple of years. I realized – and it took me a couple of years being in the real estate business to really figure out what would be my strong point in helping other people – and the best thing I realized is to do what I know best. And what do I know best? It’s what I’ve experienced. I’ve really experienced every step and stage of real estate in renting and buying and upgrading. And then going to the large family home, that some 10 years ago my children grew up, out of the house, we had this large home in North York in North Toronto, and we decided that it was time to make a change, a lifestyle change. So I really got it. I understood it. And we sold our home, downsized to a mid-to-luxury condo in mid-Toronto, which is Yorkville, and I realized that’s the area that I can really help people in.
Glenn: So how did you discover about your niche? Because a lot of agents start in this business and there’s some more traditional training of, “Go out and lead-generate two hours a day. Door-knock; cold call; prospect.” What was your guide that really made you shift from trying to be everything to everyone, and just going, “You know what? This is my niche.”
Vivien: Well, I realized after I did that for the beginning of my real estate career that it wasn’t getting me very far, because it was like calling hundreds of people that you don’t know, and the reception you get from that is not very successful. And people don’t trust you, and they don’t know you, and they don’t believe in you. And my success rate over the first early years in my real estate business was not great, because that’s what I was doing. I really didn’t know, and I didn’t figure out my niche market. It took some time working in my business, coaching with Keller Williams Referred, where I am as a real estate broker now, working with Glenn and others in the business, that I really have to concentrate on what I’m best at and what I’m passionate about. And I’ll be honest – I’m passionate about helping people find a condo in the city. They could be first-time buyers or young families or young professionals, but the majority seem to be people my age, which is the 55+ category. And these are people who, by choice or by necessity (because they can’t handle the stairs; because they have issues due to personal issues; divorce; they’ve lost a spouse – so that’s by necessity or by desire), they want to downsize. So I help them sell their large suburban home, which is what I did, and then I help them find what they’re looking for and change their lifestyle by having a condo in the city. So I really am passionate, and that’s where my success has been in the past year or two.
Glenn: And so what’s the payoff been for you? What’s really happened to your business? I’m not talking about how much money you made, or how many units – but how has your business grown as a result of just finding that niche?
Vivien: I think because I somehow seem to be exuding now a lot of confidence and understanding and compassion for the process, when I meet people, they tend to trust me. Since I’ve come from experience and I’ve done it all, and certainly done this very serious downsize-in-Boomer-category move, (and the numbers are huge in that category today because we know people are aging and they need to make some lifestyle changes), my business this past year has tripled, actually.
Vivien: So I’m very, very pleased.
Glenn: That is so great. And I think what you did – and I think you’re a great example of this, Vivien – is that you basically took what your experience was, and your natural strengths and your unique ability, and you just targeted it towards a group of people that you really like to hang with, right? And you’ve got a lot in common with it, because you’ve just done what they’re thinking about doing. And my wish would be for everyone listening, too, is just find what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about, and who you want to be a hero to. And right now, Vivien just wants to be a hero to those people in a big house who want to move down and be able to go to restaurants and travel more and not worry about maintenance, and go to great theatre and plays. And you know what? A lot of their other friends are in the same neighbourhood now down there. They’ve come from their big house. And I just love what you’re doing.
Vivien: Well I’ll tell you, it’s been a really wonderful journey. It takes some time. I don’t think one can say it happens overnight. In the earlier years, (and I’ve only been in this business seriously four years), the first two years I was doing the cold calling and the lead-generation like everybody else is doing – or that’s what they may decide to do, and the door-knocking. And it’s not something that I felt I connected with people in doing that, or connected even with myself. It was like a job. But what I’m doing now is not a job – it’s a passion, because they can tell when I look at them that I really get it. I hold their hand. I walk through the process. I understand the process. And it’s really a synergy between us of trust, and I think people relate to that, because it’s a niche; it’s a specialty. And I’m labelling myself as such in the marketplace, and people are now calling me. “I’m thinking of moving. I see you’re out there in social media and in person, and talking about it,” and you become like the expert because you believe it. And it’s true.
Glenn: And you get to carve the niche, because no one else is talking that unique language that they really want to hear, right? Because what they’re thinking about is completely different than a young family with two kids who are just trying to get into the best school district. It’s a completely different conversation. And it’s just amazing to me how so many agents will just do the, “Just listed. Just sold. Free evaluations to everybody,” and then are just shocked when they don’t get any calls. If you just talk their unique language, people will find you, because they’ll Google “How to downsize” or “How to buy a condo in Yorkville.” And guess what? You’re coming up in that search. And then when they come to your platform and they see what you stand for, it’s just amazing. To me, it should almost be called the natural way to do real estate. Plant your flag on what you believe in and stand on, become the best at it, and then watch how everyone starts coming to you instead of you running out there and lead-generating all the time.
Vivien: I think it’s very true. And of course, referrals come from that and trust comes from that, and it’s been a really nice evolution. I just need to say that it’s something that one has to really go deep inside oneself to figure it out. It’s not that easy, and it took some time and some soul-searching and some coaching, certainly, with wonderful people to figure this out and to create a road map, which is what I’m steering my business on. Almost – not exclusively, because there are young buyers that call me, too, and need help – however, I’d say 60-70% of my business is seemingly in my niche market right now.
Glenn: You know, that’s incredible, Vivien. For you to go from really zero in that niche to almost 60-70% coming from your niche in 24 months is just incredible. And I love what you said there: “I still help some young families and I still help other people.” It doesn’t mean you have to 100% niche. You’re still trying to keep your business growing and young and vibrant – but the high-margin clients, and really the people who are most like you and line up with your mindset are all the people that your niche is really designed for.
Vivien: Exactly. One cannot exclusively do this, because it’s not everybody that falls into this 55+ category that I’m dealing with. Of course not. One has to be open to everybody who is coming and phoning you. You’re speaking to a couple. They’re having a baby, and they’re moving to stage two and a home in Thornhill. Well, of course I’ll help them. So really, I would say, the niche is a main way of promoting and building a business, but the rest of it is the added pleasure to deal with everybody who also needs you, provided you can do it and have the time to do it. I find I enjoy that, too.
Glenn: So what would your advice be? What would be a great first step for someone who’s listening to this podcast? What advice would you have for them on finding their niche market?
Vivien: I think that they need to brainstorm, talk to people they know, perhaps talk to their Broker of Record at the office that’s at a higher level with experience or a coach at the office, to go through some deep exploration and find their passion through conversation and through lifestyle, to figure it out. It doesn’t always come so quickly. Some people, when you’re in the business, you need to make money and you have to make a living, and therefore you do everything. But if one takes some time and delves deeply into exploring and researching with somebody else, or within themselves, I think the magic click will go off. But with me, it didn’t come right away. As I say, it took a good couple of years to figure it out. And one should not give up.
Glenn: So what were some of the roadblocks that you came up against? You say, “One shouldn’t give up.” It’s not easy. It’s not like “Poof!” with the magic wand, and it magically appears. What were some of the roadblocks that you faced that you kept powering through to get to your niche?
Vivien: I think it’s a matter of feeling comfortable being in real estate, feeling comfortable about yourself. Roadblocks, really, I think just one’s own mind, one’s own head, one’s own ability to really figure out what one wants and what one is best at. I suppose one fights oneself. You want to make money. You want to deal with people. You want to be successful. And it’s an inner struggle until you figure out what is your strength. And I think it’s time and patience, and I was too intent to figure it out too quickly, and I got angry with myself and frustrated that I wasn’t doing that well in the first year or two. I wasn’t doing well enough. So it was an internal struggle. Once I let go of that internal struggle and inner mindset of negativity, and just said, “I’m going to do this,” it sort of switched, and I became much more successful.
Glenn: You know, Vivien, you are amazing, and I’m sure that a lot of people will resonate with your journey, because I think we’ve all gone through that. And the fact that you recognize that it’s almost like you have to switch first, and then the market switches to you. The market’s never going to move towards you. You’ve got to get your inner game together. And then once you get clear on that, then watch what happens. And then you just start attracting that same strong type of inner game person to you because they like to deal with people who have got their inner game all together.
Vivien: Exactly. It’s very much an internal mindset experience. One has to overcome that, and when one does, one can really be successful and find one’s direction, which I believe I have.
Glenn: So just before we wrap up – because this has been fantastic, and I’m learning a lot here – is there anything else that you would like to add, or maybe a question that I didn’t ask, just before we wrap up? And once again, thank you so much for being so gracious with your time.
Vivien: My pleasure.
Glenn: Is there anything else you’d want to add? Or any question I didn’t ask you?
Vivien: No. I would just say that one should be patient. One shouldn’t be hard on oneself. One should just try to find what they love to do and just do it. And it will happen. And it’s really just so simple. So just say that, and go forward. Don’t let anything get in your way. Be positive. That’s really all. That’s the big message, I think. And be happy about it!
Glenn: You are the best, Vivien. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for this.
Vivien: Thank you!
Glenn: And I just love watching you stay in your passion and your niche, and just watch your business explode. I’m just so excited for you.
Vivien: Thank you so much, Glenn. It was really a pleasure talking to you.
Glenn: Okay. Bye!
Vivien: Bye bye!
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.