Don’t Make These Marketing Mistakes! • Close-ing Time • Chris Linsell

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Welcome to our monthly feature, Close-ing Time – in partnership with TheClose.com.

Chris Linsell from TheClose.com discusses the topic he talked about in the NAR Conference in Orlando. Chris talks about marketing strategies that are still taught and used but don’t work on today’s market. Next, Chris and D.J discuss the importance of developing niches that bring you opportunities for success. Chris emphasizes the value of the time aspect of the transaction for your client especially in an unpredictable market. Last, Chris and D.J. discuss how to create a specific niche for yourself to work on and how to create a marketing strategy specific to that niche.

If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!

Chris Linsell can be reached at chris@theclose.com.

This episode is brought to you by Real Geeks and FollowUpBoss.


Transcript

D.J. Paris 0:00
What are some marketing strategies that you should absolutely avoid in 2023? We’re going to talk about that today. Stay tuned. This episode of Keeping it real is brought to you by real geeks. How many homes are you going to sell this year? Do you have the right tools? Is your website turning soft leads and interested buyers? Are you spending money on leads that aren’t converting? Well real geeks is your solution. Find out why agents across the country choose real geeks as their technology partner. Real geeks was created by an agent for agents. They pride themselves on delivering a sales and marketing solution so that you can easily generate more business. Their agent websites are fast and built for lead conversion with a smooth search experience for your visitors. Real geeks also includes an easy to use agent CRM. So once a lead signs up on your website, you can track their interest and have great follow up conversations. Real geeks is loaded with a ton of marketing tools to nurture your leads and increase brand awareness visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and find out why Realtors come to real geeks to generate more business again, visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and now on to our show.

Welcome to keeping it real the largest podcast made for real estate agents and by real estate agents. My name is DJ Harris, I am your guide and host through the show today is our monthly series called closing time with Chris Lin sell from the closed.com. And this is a partnership between keeping it real in the clothes and let me tell you more about the clothes. Now the clothes.com is the kind of real estate website designed to give agents, teams and brokerages actionable strategic insight from industry professionals. Now they cover real estate marketing, lead generation technology and team building strategies. From the perspective of working agents and brokers who want to take their business to the next level, please visit the clothes.com. Again, that’s the clothes th e clsc.com. And check out some of their articles. Also at the very top of of all their pages, you can subscribe to their newsletter. I’m a huge believer in that. Because if you’re like me, there’s lots of websites that you go I should be visiting that more often, but we just don’t. So if you subscribe to their newsletter, you’ll get emailed every time they produce a long form. Article, which is all the time they have such great content with us, as always is crystallin Sal, he’s a staff writer and real estate coach for the close. Chris is the closes resident expert on real estate topics ranging from marketing, lead gen transactional best practices and everything in between. He’s a licensed agent in the state of Michigan. And Chris has been part of hundreds of transactions from modest rural starter homes to massive waterside compounds. And when he isn’t writing, you’ll find Chris fly fishing or performing on the stage of his community theaters production. Chris, welcome once again to keeping it real. We’re excited to have you,

Chris Linsell 3:06
DJ, glad to have you I never get I never get tired of listening to your introduction about the clothes and about all the stuff that I’m working on. It’s genuinely a pleasure to be here. So glad that clothes can continue to partner with you guys and ready for a good time. Oh, today

D.J. Paris 3:21
it is and and we should say that by the time this episode will be released, you will have already spoken at the National Association of Realtors Conference. So let me be the first to congratulate you on your successful conversation. Which hasn’t actually happened yet. But I’m sure by the time this this is this has been released, it will have been a success. I was at your speech last year and San Diego and I thought it was the best session I went to because you were willing to take a stand and make some bold predictions. And just out of curiosity by again by the time everyone will heard this. It’s already happened. But what was your topic that you spoke about at NARA for this year?

Chris Linsell 4:00
Yeah, absolutely. So I actually am doing two sessions at NAR this year. The first one is on five missed expectations of our consumers specific to the way that technology plays a role in our in our industry. So what are consumers expect to expect from real estate professionals that we miss on a regular basis and we lose business as a result. So lots lots of chat about there. The other session that I will be slash have already delivered is five, five listing secrets from the top producers that I’ve worked with from across the country. And this ranges from everything from lead generation to listing presentations to marketing to closing and after transaction relationships. It is not an accident that the leaders in our space are consistently the same people every single year it’s because they’ve got some stuff that You’re out. And I’m sharing five big secrets about this. But actually, I want to say, you will still if you are listening to this and you are in New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, you can get a chance to hear some of this stuff. If you didn’t catch me at night, because I’m going to be at triple play in Atlantic City in December talking about a lot of the same stuff there. With some New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania specific details added. So if you’re in that tri state, come Come check me out at triple play. Well, we can rehash the conversation and get into some more together.

D.J. Paris 5:33
You guys, you know, what you did on the close? Is a and maybe you do have this and I missed it, but you need to have like a calendar or some sort of events, so that all the readers you know, will know about your upcoming speeches? If it isn’t there. Maybe. Maybe you guys could add that because you do speak a lot. And also to na NAR, NAR, I always say it the wrong way. So however it’s supposed to be I used to say NAR and then people that NAR would be like it’s really NAR. So anyway, I don’t know if it matters. But regardless of how you pronounce it, I are those sessions do we know if those sessions are also going to be recorded and available for purchase or for anyone, obviously, for attendees, I suspect they’ll will already had access, but I didn’t know if he could like buy them. So I don’t know if you know,

Chris Linsell 6:20
the recordings of the sessions will be recorded, they will be available on the NAR Conference and Expo website. For members of NAR I want to say it’s free for members of NAR, but it might just be free for attendees and super duper cheap for members that didn’t attend. So if you just can’t get enough crystal and Sal, you can, you can head to the NAR website and just mainline me right into your bloodstream there.

D.J. Paris 6:49
Oh, it’s funny, um, I don’t want to associate you with, with with addictive, destructive drugs. But getting addicted to your content is actually a good idea. So if you’re going to get addicted to anything, Chris’s content is right up there at the very best for real estate marketing, and just really just business and team planning. So I really think what they offer on the close is an actual perspective, an actual point of view. You know, I think realtors are often you know, because of their wanting to grow their business and be as accessible to so many people, there’s this idea of neutrality, that I want to be sort of in the middle, I don’t want to offend or, you know, create any division between myself and the customer. But I love that the close is willing to take a stand, but not just an uninformed opinion. They actually you guys do a ton of research and you arrive at a conclusion. And I often agree with pretty much all of all the conclusions I read on the close. So whether you see Chris live or you you’re able just to read some of the content he provides the clothes.com is really impressive, because you won’t just get a list of like, here’s five ways to spruce up your next open house, it’s going to be here’s what we’ve studied about open houses. And here’s what we know works. And here are some actual tidbits you’re not going to get anywhere else. So I love that the close is my favorite website to read about anything marketing related or business building. So anyway, but we’re not here to talk about how great the website is, because I could do that. I could do that all this all this entire time. But I’m excited to chat with you today. We were talking just before we started about what were we going to chat about today. And I think the topics a very good one. So why don’t you lead us off?

Chris Linsell 8:38
Yeah, so there’s, you know, there’s some shifts that are happening in the real estate market right now. We all know this. We can see it in our local market, we can definitely read about it in in, you know, big national publications, like, you know, the national news and the clothes and Inman, everybody is covering these shifts in the market. And I think the best way to kind of think about this is put yourself as you’re listening to this, put yourself in the shoes of the agent, you were in November 2021. Or maybe let’s go with Memorial Day 2021. Where we were seeing photos in the New York Times of people lined up around the block to get waiting to get into open houses. And we were seeing banks advertised on their website, mortgage interest rates. That would be you could you could basically fit for of inside the current mortgage rates. We were seeing opportunities for buyers and sellers that felt like they were on a different planet than the markets as we’re taping this right now sec. Can we can November 2022. So I want you to think about your business then, and your strategies for success. And I want you to think about your business now. And what I want, what I’m hoping we can chat about a little bit today is how the shift between markets is a heck of a lot bigger than the shift of between strategies. For most agents, most agents, they know the market has changed. They know their consumers needs have changed, they know their opportunities have changed. But have they changed their strategies? Almost, some of them not at all. And most of us hardly at all. And this is a problem. We’re gonna get bit by this pretty soon.

D.J. Paris 10:45
Can we talk about the strategies that are the tried and true older strategies that are adopted by agents who haven’t yet fully adapted to, to their current to the current market conditions and the needs of the of the agents, or sorry, the needs of the customers?

Chris Linsell 11:05
So that said, I say that one more time. So the tried and true strategy? Yeah,

D.J. Paris 11:09
so so maybe we should just define what are some traditional marketing strategies that may or may not make sense today, but are still being taught and taught and touted? You know, throughout the industry?

Chris Linsell 11:20
Absolutely. Absolutely. So I’m just going to use a really basic example. So we can all kind of get our heads around this real estate postcards. There is a ton of content on the internet, the close has some of it, actually, that talks about how to effectively use direct mail and postcards to generate leads. And if you think back to Memorial Day, 2021. If you sold a house in a neighborhood, you could literally just put on a postcard, I sold this house, and this mail it to 500 homes nearby, and you’d get calls because people like oh, wow, okay, this sold for six times more than I thought it would I own a house here, maybe I should sell my house. Sure, you couldn’t spit out you couldn’t walk outside and spit on the sidewalk without accidentally hitting the shoe of somebody else who wanted to buy a house at that point. That is not the case any longer. If you go out and spam blast the 500 closest homes to the latest transaction in a neighborhood. Not only are you taking a you know putting a burn barrel in the front yard and just lighting the money on fire that it cost to send those postcards, you are developing a negative industry reputation as somebody who is not in touch with the current climate and the needs of buyers and sellers. I would say a year and a half ago, we would think about our lead generation as an umbrella and upside down umbrella just turn the umbrella upside down, leads are going to fall into it. We are not in an upside down umbrella of economy and climate any longer. We are now in a samurai sword climate where you need to have Swift, deliberate thoughtful strokes in order to be effective. And you’re only going to hit a small chunk of what you’re swinging at at a time. But it’s going to be effective if you can be thoughtful around it. So in the in the example of postcards, we’re talking about adjusting from this spam blast this what I call evidence of action or evidence of activity and shifting it towards evidence of expertise. You want to show people yes, this house sold and it’s sold in part because you are a specific expert in a particular thing that got this transaction across the finish line. And the people who you are targeting with your marketing would also benefit from that specific expertise. Shifting from a an evidence of action to an evidence of expertise is a tough thing to do. But once you do it, it’s incredibly effective.

D.J. Paris 14:02
Just to make sure this is really clear evidence of action would be based around an accomplishment, right? So in the example of hey, I sold your neighbor’s home that doesn’t have action, or hey, I’m a top producer evidence of action. Well, I guess that could be both right. That could be both expertise. And so yeah, right. We’re not necessarily talking in absolutes, but this idea of I accomplished x, therefore I would be a good realtor for you Mr. or Mrs. Prospect.

Chris Linsell 14:32
That’s exactly right. Yeah, think about I mean evidence of action. The simplest form of evidence of action is your name on the right or outside the sign that’s in the front yard. That now is still that still is true. It’s evidence of action. But think about the message it sends when that sign and that name on that name writer sit in the front yard for six months instead of Six days now, yeah, it is a counter example to your evidence of expertise. The longer that sits there, the longer people are like, Oh, John Doe doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about. Because this, he doesn’t know how to sell real estate because this house is just sitting right now. Right. So to shift to an evidence of expertise, let’s say that same house, that you’re going to blasts that spam blast that postcard, about the postcard now reads this particular house, you know, we sold this house, and it happened to have a wood Foundation, which is not uncommon for homes in the Midwest that were built in the late late 80s, early 90s. This home happens to have a wood foundation. Wood foundations are perfectly safe and great, actually, for places that get snow. However, property inspectors don’t always like wood foundations, and they can give some tough reports on this sort of thing. I happen to have the expertise to be able to navigate the property inspector, the appraiser, the buyer and the seller, and we got the job done. And if you’ve got a wood foundation, I can get the job done for you, too. This is evidence of expertise. And of course, all of that would be difficult to put on a postcard, specifically, but what we’re talking about here is changing your strategy from that upside down umbrella, to a samurai sword. So you are can you can cut and say this is where I’m effective. This is where I can create value. This is where we can work together. That’s what’s going to be necessary for success in the next iteration of the real estate market.

D.J. Paris 16:41
So let’s talk about how to actually do this. So what we’re really talking about is hyper segmenting your prospect list by expired their needs. And or if you don’t have a prospect list, identifying a prospect list based on need, right? So are we’re talking about going after specific audiences that have similar needs, as opposed to just throwing everything out there. And whoever responds responds, we’re gonna go target and find people who specifically want X, Y, or Z. I’m going to demonstrate my my expertise of x, y and z. So I just want to make sure I’m understanding that correct.

Chris Linsell 17:22
Yeah, that’s exactly right. I mean, the real challenge here is fighting this urge to be everything to everyone. Right? Like, it is difficult for a lot of real estate professionals to effectively niche down because they don’t want to be seen as the one realtor who does the one thing. Well, the thing that we often forget about niching down is that it’s not a mutually exclusive act, you can have lots of niches. In fact, you should have lots of niches, you should be an expert in a handful of things. If you are an expert in a handful of things, you have lots of opportunity for success. Ultimately, I tried to tell agents that I coach, when they’re talking about transitioning their market into what I would consider to be this. It’s just a tighter real estate market, we’re going to see less demand higher interest rates, fewer transactions when we’re transitioning into these tighter markets, we ultimately have to show both our buyers and our sellers that their success is possible, relevant to what we can provide them that it is not just a matter of throwing something on Zillow and waiting for 20 offers to roll in. Success is still a path and we can get you there. This is really a chance to demonstrate your specific expertise value, and agents, even those who are still developing those who are brand new to the to the real estate field, they can still have they still have expertise value. Nobody else has access to the same MLS level data that you do. Certainly people can search properties on Zillow, but they don’t have the back end that you do. They don’t have the connections that you do, they don’t have the opportunity to network with their colleagues the way that you do. And so that right now is the time to start demonstrating that value of expert of expertise to your clients. And the faster you can do it, the more out ahead of your competition you can get, the more transactions you’re going to be capturing in the end of 2022 and the start at 2023.

D.J. Paris 19:37
Can I give you my favorite example of this and it actually comes from years ago so I my the home I lived at just prior to where I live now was a high rise in River North here in Chicago. And only well there were plenty of realtors that would send mailers that were more of the generic type flyers or brochures or postcards kind of thing. And when they would show up and are our mailbox once a month random agents, there was one agent who, every month, we got a eight and a half by 11, front and back, you know, postcard essentially, but it’s, you know, much bigger. And it in it, it basically said, I’m so and so I have sold more condos in this building than any other realtor and he said it in a slightly less direct way. But that was what he said on on the front. Also on the front. He goes here, by the way, are all the condos that have sold in the building in the last month, which was really smart, because you could see what two bedrooms were selling for and one bedrooms, etc. And then on the back, it had a list of every single time he had sold a property in the building, it had a list of all of his accomplishments. And I thought, well, if I was not in the business, and I was looking to sell my property, I was a renter at the time. So it didn’t apply to me. I said, I think I would go with this guy who seems to really know the building, he’s a total expert, or at least he has projected some sort of expertise. I don’t know if he’s actually an expert in the building. But if he’s being honest about his, his marketing, he’s sold more properties within the building, that’s usually a good sign in my mind as a consumer. So anyway, that was my favorite thing. And I’ve yet to really see anyone else ever do that. And again, not now, for anyone listening, they might think, well, I don’t I’m not the biggest, you know, seller of a particular neighborhood or a building like that. So not everyone’s going to be able to do that you have to earn your way there. But he wouldn’t have even had to say that he was the guy who sold the most property in the building. He just happened to be that guy. But he could have also some anybody could have sent everything else that was included all the prices of the places that just sold, you know, and like that’s, that’s demonstrating value. It’s demonstrating, hey, I’m not just blanketing this building, saying, Hey, we’re doing I’m a realtor. Oh, by the way, here’s information that you person who lives in, you know, apartment 1507 Are you kind of 15 or seven cares about? So that’s to me a great example.

Chris Linsell 21:58
Yeah, I totally agree. By the way. Now, we all know that DJ lived in a condo 1507. So what you know, it’s interesting, one thing I want to call out to as a as a power up to agents who are seeking to put this strategy into place is, wherever possible, highlight your ability to not just save your clients time, or excuse me tied to spoil, but not just save your clients money, but save your clients time, the time aspect of a transaction, especially in an unpredictable market is extraordinarily valuable. So your your example of the of the realtor who is consistently sending you marketing about the activity in the building. I think that that could even be taken to the next level to say something along the lines of I’ve done this now 57 times in this building, I know exactly the steps, we are not going to lose any opportunity, we’re not going to lose any time trying to figure out what we do next. Because I know exactly what needs to happen. As a consumer personally, I will go with somebody who is more expensive, if I am very confident that they not only know the steps, but they know the timeline. And they can accurately forecast that, for me, that is critical, especially for folks who have a little bit higher net worth, they can afford to spend more they are not penny pinching specific, like half a percentage point on the commission. But they only have a finite amount of time in their life to dedicate to this sort of thing. Anybody who can demonstrate that they are the best use of their time that they win the listing just about every time especially for those folks who are pushing into the you know, million dollar plus range for property.

D.J. Paris 23:47
I just talked to somebody who just got their license yesterday. And she I said, Oh, what what career you coming from? Because she was like, I’m switching careers and or she was like, I’m gonna stay with my existing career just just for a while before I go full time into real estate. I said, Oh, what are you doing? And she goes, Oh, I work it with surgeons, I work. She wasn’t a nurse, some sort of admin person for surgeons, and she’s been doing that for like 20 years. So she goes, I said, Wow, that’s kind of interesting and hyper specific. And she said, Yeah, I’m only going to work, I’m going to try my best to only work with surgeons. And I said, Oh, I said, Well, that makes sense. And she goes, I totally understand how they think I know what they I know approximately what they earn. I know, you know, she just has all this data about working with surgeons because that’s what she’s done. She goes I want to be the surgeon person. And I’m like that is a brilliant strategy. Because it is hyper specific. You understand the needs of that market, and you have access to that market.

Chris Linsell 24:45
100% I am it’s it’s a great example that you just use there. I have an agent who I’m friends with in my local market, who has signed an exclusivity agreement with the A recruiter for the local hospital system in northern Michigan. This person only takes clients from the recruiter, the recruiters office, she signed this agreement said I’m not going to work with anyone else I will turn away business I will only work with with the buyers and sellers that you send me. You have to send me your buyers and sellers. But I will only work with these people. The thing that this at first, a lot of people thought she was absolutely crazy for doing this because it’s like, you know, people want to work with you, you’re gonna send them away. She said, I am demonstrating expertise in a specific niche. I’m working with people who need to buy and sell they typically have a timeline, they typically have specific things that they’re looking for, like distance to the hospital distance to the to the physical therapy hospital or wherever they’re going. And they typically have a definable range of properties that they’re interested in. I become the expert in this space. She said, Honestly, the the fact that these folks are typically buying homes that are on the upper echelon of value, this is secondary to me, it is that is a distant second to the consistent expertise that I get to establish in a particular niche.

D.J. Paris 26:21
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Chris Linsell 29:05
absolutely 100%. The the long the short of it is I would kind of put a bow on this conversation. The agents who are going to find the most success and are most likely to continue to be scaling their business after 2023 are the agents who can pivot away from this kind of, like operating like an opportunity vacuum cleaner, because it used to be that we saw so many opportunities in every single place. That I mean, the reality is DJ that the fact that the fact that the market conditions are changing. It doesn’t affect the fact that people still need places to live. We still need to buy and sell people are still going to get new jobs and lose their existing jobs. They’re going to have kids they’re going to get divorces, spouses You’re going to die, there’s going to be a ton of different reasons why real estate still needs to happen. So it’s not that there aren’t the transactions, it is just the accessibility and the approach to those transactions will change. And so if you are stuck operating, you’re upside down umbrella strategies and wondering why you’re not being successful. You should look to see, you know, get your samurai sword out of the closet and start swinging up.

D.J. Paris 30:28
Yeah, not now is the time to think about this to win with the, you know, with the way that we shop, and the way that we the way that we sort of navigate the world, yes, there are places for the big super stores like Amazon, virtually or Walmart, you know, with more of the brick and mortar, yes, there is convenience. And there makes sense to sort of try to be all things to a to a shopper. But the vast majority of us when we want something a little bit more specialized than just going out and getting our groceries or our household needs, we’re usually doing a lot of searching online, we’re doing a little research ourselves, or we’re looking for somebody who can help provide that to us in a much more concise way. Right. And I think I think this is, you know, I mean, if we just look at Reddit, as a great example, I don’t know how many sub Reddits there are, there’s got to be 10s, of 1000s. And these are all hyper specific to a particular interest. And if you don’t know what Reddit is, you guys can look it up. But basically, whatever you’re into, you can go find your community. And so the point is, is that can be extrapolated out to your own business as well figure out what you know, is a is a is something that you want to specialize in. And even if you’re not that familiar with it, you can get familiar with it. You want to work with developers start talking to developers and saying, how does how do agents get in with you? Like, what are they doing? How are they getting? What are your needs? What are you I mean, these are things that you can do first time homebuyers, people who have, you know, divorce attorneys if you want to work with people who are divorced, I know tons of realtors who just do that, who go well, I just get in good with the attorneys. I know the needs of a divorce. See, I understand what that process looks like, I understand some of the, the legal part of it, you know, anyway, I could go on and on. But the point is, is come up with something. And by the way, as Chris was saying, it doesn’t have to be your only niche, right? It could be niche one and the instead of having buckets of different types of of processes for marketing, like I have my farming bucket that I you know, and I have my my customer my referral bucket, you could also have buckets around your niches, right? Mm hmm.

Chris Linsell 32:42
Definitely. All right, well,

D.J. Paris 32:43
we need to we need to wrap up because Chris is is ready to board a flight very shortly. And he’s got some calls to make before he goes to Nar, and blows the blows the room out like I did last year. So anyway, we’re gonna we’re gonna say goodbye to Chris. But before we do want everyone, everyone, please, please, please, this is the website. i By the way, the clothes does not pay us for this at all. And we never, we would never ask for them to pay us. Because we are such big fans of theirs that we want everybody to go read, we actually think you’ll become a better realtor by reading the clothes.com Oh, by the way, like 99% of it’s free. So that’s even better. You don’t have to get pull your card out. Of course, they do have a premium subscription model as well, for the close Pro. We’ll talk about that on our next episode. But the very least go read their stuff, Chris, and the editorial stuff, they are not afraid of going deep, they go wide, and they have an opinion. So it’s not just facts and figures. It’s like and by the way, here’s what we recommend, guys, there isn’t really anything else out there like this that I’ve found. So go go to the clothes.com. And by the way, also, you know, we’ll keep you abreast of Chris’s speaking engagements so that maybe you can go see him live. But Chris, thank you so much for once again being on our show. We would love to, we love to have you of course, again in 2023. We will continue to have this have you on here. And you know, maybe we’ll even make some tweaks to it to to make it even better for next year. But we’re excited to continue the relationship on behalf of everyone because it’ll be the last episode of the year with you. We really appreciate everything you do for our show. So thank you on behalf of the audience.

Chris Linsell 34:20
Thanks, guys. Always a pleasure looking forward to the next time too.

D.J. Paris 34:24
Awesome. All right. Well, this that’ll do it for this episode, guys. We will see Chris in 2023. Either you can see him in person or on our show once a month. So thanks, Chris. Thanks to the audience. Please tell a friend. In fact, tell two friends that would really help us out. It’s the holiday season. Tell it tell two friends about our show. And that’s all we’ll ever ask of you. Thanks, guys. We’ll see you next time. Thanks, Chris.

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